Feast of Saint Paul the Apostle  

This week’s Saint the Week is Saint Paul the Apostle, one of the most unlikely yet influential people in the history of Christianity.  Saint Paul originally called Saul of Tarsus, was a Roman citizen and a Pharisee.  During the early days of the fledging Church, Saul zealously persecuted Christians, whom he believed were breaking Jewish law.  Saul was even present, although did not actively participate in the stoning of Saint Stephen, the first Apostle martyred for the new faith.  

Shortly thereafter, Saul was headed to Syria with documents in hand to round up and jail more Christians.  While “on the road to Damascus”, Saul was thrown from his horse upon encountering a blinding light and heard the words, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”.   https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+9&version=NIV  From that moment on, Saul, who changed his name to Paul, got his act together and with the same zeal used to persecute the Church, became one it’s most ardent champions in all of Christian history.  He became the Apostle to the Gentiles, even taking Saint Peter to task at the Council of Jerusalem for his insistence on circumcising non-Jewish converts, which Paul argued was not a requirement in the new covenant established by Jesus. Paul’s argument won the day.  In addition, to founding many churches in his native Syria, Asia Minor, Corinth, and in Europe, he is believed to be responsible for up to 14 of the 27 books of the new testament.  

Saint Paul lived a full and very active life.  He was even shipwrecked off the coast of Malta while on his way to Rome to stand trial for his faith.  He was ultimately martyred by beheading in Rome under the persecutions of the Emperor Nero.  He was a champion of the faith to the end, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).   

Feast Day:  June 29th

O Glorious Saint Paul, after persecuting the Church you became by God’s grace its most zealous Apostle. To carry the knowledge of Jesus, our Divine Savior, to the uttermost parts of the earth, you joyfully endured prison, scourging, stoning, and shipwreck, as well as all manner of persecutions culminating in the shedding of the last drop of your blood for our Lord Jesus Christ. Obtain for us the grace to labor strenuously to bring the faith to others and to accept any trials and tribulations that may come our way. Help us to be inspired by your Epistles and to partake of your indomitable love for Jesus, so that after we have finished our course we may join you in praising Him in Heaven for all eternity. Amen.

Saint Paul the Apostle, pray for us!

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