The story of St. Paul's conversion reads like some Hollywood action drama script. Amid the violence, emotion, special effects, and struggles, the bad guy turns into the good guy and rides into the sunset a legendary preacher and writer. But the real message of Paul's conversion is three-fold and should read like a warning to those who lose their true calling and purpose amid earthly confusion and values.
The Basic Script
We are told that Saul was an educated, fiery man not much to look at but with much to say. He firmly believed that the law, and not some Jesus, was the true path to salvation. Seeing the followers of this Christ, the so-called Christians, as a threat to the established order, Saul zealously persecuted them. At least a witness and perhaps a participant in the murder of Stephen, the first martyr, Saul left no doubt what his purpose and mission was.
Yet God Almighty chose this enemy of the Faith to help spread His message!
According to the Bible, Saul was struck down from his horse as he headed toward Damascus to hunt down Christians. Blinded, he nevertheless heard a voice ask, "Saul, why do you persecute Me?" Contrary to popular myth, Saul's conversion to Paul was not immediate following this experience. It took three years of soul searching, prayer, and meditation for Paul to properly assess and re-direct his life and mission. Once he did so, however, Paul became a legendary defender of the Faith and messenger of the Word.
The Three-fold Message
Paul's dramatic conversion experience is more than just some magical turn of events. It carries a three-fold message we must heed if we are to remain faithful and true to our Faith.
First, Paul's conversion reminds us that we all have a purpose, mission, and role in defending and spreading the True Faith. No matter who we are and what we do, God Almighty has given us the tools to use our presence on this earth to defend and spread the Faith and God's Word. We have a divine duty to multiply the treasures God has given us by using them to give praise to God Almighty and not to ourselves. Just as the master punished the servant who hid his money instead of using it to create greater riches, we too will be held accountable for what we did with the talents God has given us.
Second, Paul's conversion reminds us that our path to salvation will be long and difficult and not magical and instantaneous as myth has erroneously portrayed Paul's transition to be. Our world is enamored with speed, ease, and efficiency, but God's way can be slow, difficult, and often frustrating. The New Order has bought into many aspects of this world's sales talk, redefining itself in the interests of brevity, ease, and comfort.
Third, we must be careful to not let our zeal and fervor be misdirected by false or evil forces. Saul's zealous commitment to a cause was commendable, but misdirected and therefore wasted. Instead of using God's gifts to honor God, he was actually using them to sabotage and persecute God's Will. In rejecting Christ as the true path to salvation and falsely giving the law that role, Saul was unknowingly obstructing God's Will. It was only when he was made to realize his error and change his ways that Saul, now Paul, began to use his abilities to honor God.
Today we see our Faith attacked by two fronts, one direct and another indirect. On the direct front, we have a world and society which openly rejects, mocks, ridicules, and attacks God while pushing earthly, secular, modernist, feminist, Masonic, homosexual, and New Age agendas. On the indirect front, we have a Faith, which is increasingly infected, stained, and tainted with this earthly virus, which threatens the very foundation of the Faith.
This second front may be more dangerous than the first because of its deceptive, two-handed, false nature. This second, indirect front pretends to lead the charge against the first front but is actually betraying and subverting our defense of the Faith. If we view our Faith as a computer and this indirect front as a computer virus, we can see how this indirect front infects the Faith and hijacks its proper functioning and purpose, using that functioning and purpose for destruction rather than construction.
Many people have been brainwashed into fighting for the wrong cause, the false Faith, even against the true Faith, not unlike Saul. There will come a moment when each of us will be struck down from our horses leading to false ends. We must prepare to turn sincerely to God's true path and reject the false fruit of the New Order, which is our false cause. Like Paul, our progress may be slow and difficult at times, but we must persevere if we are to fulfill our true calling and purpose with the talents God has given us. We must be prepared to answer the question, "Why do you persecute Me?" with the response, "I did with my sins and errors, but I vow to fight for You from this point on!"