Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Conversion of St Paul

File:Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio - The Conversion of St. Paul - WGA04135.jpg
Caravaggio, The Conversion of St Paul,Odescalchi Balbi Collection, Rome

I love the artwork (well it is my favourite, Caravaggio) but have never especially raved about the Conversion of Saul into Paul. It is striking and wonderful that God was able to use and transform the great persecutor into an instrument of mission, but in all honesty, I'm not fond of St Paul.  I know he's terribly significant and important etc, but he's never really been one of my faves..  St John Chrysostom (a saint of whom I am rather more fond) preached this about him:

  "The most important thing of all to him, however, was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ. Enjoying this love, he considered himself happier than anyone else; were he without it, it would be no satisfaction to be the friend of principalities and powers. He preferred to be thus loved and be the least of all, or even to be among the damned, than to be without that love and be among the great and honoured.
  To be separated from that love was, in his eyes, the greatest and most extraordinary of torments; the pain of that loss would alone have been hell, and endless, unbearable torture.
  So too, in being loved by Christ he thought of himself as possessing life, the world, the angels, present and future, the kingdom, the promise and countless blessings. Apart from that love nothing saddened or delighted him; for nothing earthly did he regard as bitter or sweet."

Centred on the love of God. That is ultimately what we who are Christians all ought to aspire to be.

Almighty God,
who caused the light of the gospel
to shine throughout the world
through the preaching of your servant Saint Paul:
grant that we who celebrate his wonderful conversion
may follow him in bearing witness to your truth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment