When we think about conversion in an educational sense we would normally think of a few key examples;
- converting grades to the right outcomes
- converting behaviours or attitudes to make a change
- converting a relationship that needs to be changed…
This may tell us something of change and transformation but this week is the feast of the conversion of St Paul, our patron Saint. He had a pretty dramatic change in his life which can make us think more deeply about our faith and life.
St Paul was originally Saul of Tarsus and he lived a life dedicated to persecuting the early Christian church including being involved in the stoning to death of St Stephen. He was sent from Jerusalem to Damascus to arrest and return with the Christians he captured.
It was on this journey to persecute the Christian community that he actually found Christ in probably the most dramatic conversion. He was “blinded by faith” and heard Jesus call him to a very different life as one of His disciples. We now talk about having a “road to Damascus experience” where we can see something from a fresh perspective or with a new pair of eyes.
His conversion was so dramatic that Saul was to start his life afresh as Paul and become one of the founding fathers of the Christian Church. He was to go on to travel relentlessly to spread the Good News.
So what can we take from this account today…
- How can you be open to being changed for the good in your life?
- How can faith bring new light to your life?
- Will you be attentive to God’s call for you and be willing to respond?
- What can you do to spread the Good News today?
Far from feeling that St Paul represents a failed image of discipleship or faith I love his simple humanity. We can all see that at times we may sometimes be headed in the wrong direction, perhaps not as dramatically as he was, but if we are open to God’s plan for us we too can be disciples and bring faith to those we meet.
So say a prayer this Thursday, 26th January, that we too will be transformed by the light of faith and converted too.