Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, apostle
(Acts 22:3-16; Mark 16:15-18)
In introducing his new mysteries of the rosary, Blessed John Paul II spoke of the Transfiguration of the Lord being the primordial mystery of light. At this transcendent experience Jesus’ disciples previewed the glory of the resurrection. Saul, Jesus’ persecutor, has a similar vision of the Lord in today’s reading from Acts.
The passage does not say that Saul sees anything more than light. However, it indicates that the brilliance of the light is so overwhelming that it blinds Saul for an extended period of time. The light has spiritual as well as physical effects. Along with the accompanying voice, it reveals to Saul that he has been wrongly persecuting Jesus’ followers. It also elicits an all-consuming appeal. Saul will not rest until he sees that light again in eternity.
The story of St. Paul’s conversion gives us consolation and hope. Paul, of course, dominates the revelation of Jesus Christ, at least in terms of the number of works in the New Testament. His writings indicate that he was so intelligent, astute, and truthful that we feel secure in accepting their message of salvation. They also move us to look forward, like Paul, to seeing the light of Christ. That will both clear up all our questions about the mystery of Jesus and give us perfect bliss.