Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
If you were an early Christian in the time of Saul, it would have been easy to believe that Saul could never be converted. I mean, he was clearly SUCH a bad guy — the reading today starts with Saul “breathing murderous threats against the disciples of Jesus,” and that’s not empty talk, either. A few chapters earlier in Acts, we see Saul standing approvingly by as St. Stephen, the first martyr, gets brutally murdered right before his eyes. Saul was so blinded by his own pride and his own false perception of God that he condoned a violent murder, and was ready to murder as many disciples as he could.
If you were an early Christian, it would be tempting to think, “Saul could never be changed. He’s just too far gone.”
St. Thérèse of Lisieux is the patron saint of missionaries, even though she never left France and lived in a convent for most of her life. So why is she the patroness of missionaries? Because, before she even first entered the convent, she prayed earnestly for the conversion of a terrible, unrepentant murderer named Pranzini. Coming before God in prayer, praying with total confidence, she asked Jesus for some sign that Pranzini had come to know God’s love. She wrote later that her prayer was, “My God, I am quite sure that You will pardon this unhappy Pranzini... because I have such confidence in Your unbounded Mercy.” On the day after his execution, Thérèse read in the paper that in the final seconds of Pranzini’s life, this hardened murderer had turned, clutched a Crucifix, and tenderly kissed it three times. Thérèse began to live the life of a missionary then and there, at the age of 14!
Today, on the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, pray with confidence for the conversion of the world. Pray by name for the conversion of public figures, for the conversion of celebrities and politicians, and especially for the conversion of your friends and family, and have confidence that they will convert. Even those who seem most distant from the love of Jesus can be transformed by Him. If a terrible, murderous man like Saul could become one of the greatest Christian missionaries of all time, then let today’s feast day remind us that there is no limit to what God can do.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
Do you ever find yourself thinking you're 'too far gone' for the Lord?
Are you confident in the mercy of the Lord for all?
Do you pray for the conversion of the world with joyful hope in God's mercy?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"I trust in your mercy Lord."
"I bring you all of me."
"I love you Lord."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Take some time today to pray for unrepentant sinners. Pray that they will know the love and mercy that God is offering them. Choose a special prayer you can say daily for one person in particular.
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"Today's Prayer was prepared by Chris O'Hara, an evangelist in Canada.
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