Monday, February 8, 2010

Damascus Experience

The Damascus experience of St. Paul, when he fell from his horse and was blinded by a great light that he saw (Acts 9), became the occasion of his conversion, whereas previously he was a strong persecutor of the early Christian believers. You analyze the event and learn from such a happening. Many times the Lord uses events or trials in our lives as stepping stones for our conversion.

But deep in his heart St. Paul had that essential characteristic that we all need.. He was sincere in seeking for God's truth and God's will. You can read that in the narration of his conversion (Acts of the Apostles, chapter 9). That is what all of us need, whatShakespeare says in Hamlet: "To thine own self be true and it will follow as night follows day, you will be true to every man." Actually it means truthfulness or sincerity in oneself. Do you really desire and seek what is your true good and perfection?

St. Paul too was conscious that good and perfection comes by the grace of God, as he admitted, saying: "by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).. Even St. Alphonsus de Liguori had said: "Who prays is saved." That is why if you fall into eternal perdition you have only yourself to blame because the Lord, source of grace and power, had promised to answer the prayers of those who ask Him.

St. Luke writes: "One day Jesus was praying in a certain place and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.' And Jesus said to them, 'When you pray, say this: Father, hallowed be your name, may your kingdom come, give us each day the kind of bread we need, and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive all who do us wrong, and do not bring us to the test.' Jesus said to them, 'Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to his house in the middle of the night and says: 'Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine who is traveling has just arrived and I have nothing to offer him.' Maybe your friend will answer from inside: 'Don't bother me now; the door is locked and my children and I are in bed, so I can't get up and give you anything.' But I tell you, even though he will not get up and attend to you because you are a friend, yet he will get up because you are a bother to him, and he will give you all you need. And so I say to you, 'Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For the one who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to him who knocks the door will be opened. If your child asks for a fish, will you give a snake instead? And if your child asks for an egg, will you give a scorpion? Even you evil people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more then will the Father in heaven give holy spirit to those who ask him!"

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