Minute Meditations

Life-Giving Love Minute Meditations

It is from the cross that we receive his life-giving love. It is through the cross that we have faith in his mercy. The eternal Son of God came to earth, lived, died, and rose again so that we might obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.

— from Zealous

Conversion of St. Paul

Paul's entire life can be explained in terms of one experience—his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus. In an instant, he saw that all the zeal of his dynamic personality was being wasted, like the strength of a boxer swinging wildly. Perhaps he had never seen Jesus, who was only a few years older. But he had acquired a zealot's hatred of all Jesus stood for, as he began to harass the Church: "...entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment" (Acts 8:3b). Now he himself was "entered," possessed, all his energy harnessed to one goal—being a slave of Christ in the ministry of reconciliation, an instrument to help others experience the one Savior.

One sentence determined his theology: "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting" (Acts 9:5b). Jesus was mysteriously identified with people—the loving group of people Saul had been running down like criminals. Jesus, he saw, was the mysterious fulfillment of all he had been blindly pursuing.

From then on, his only work was to "present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me" (Colossians 1:28b-29). "For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and [with] much conviction" (1 Thessalonians 1:5a).

Paul's life became a tireless proclaiming and living out of the message of the cross: Christians die baptismally to sin and are buried with Christ; they are dead to all that is sinful and unredeemed in the world. They are made into a new creation, already sharing Christ's victory and someday to rise from the dead like him. Through this risen Christ the Father pours out the Spirit on them, making them completely new.

So Paul's great message to the world was: You are saved entirely by God, not by anything you can do. Saving faith is the gift of total, free, personal and loving commitment to Christ, a commitment that then bears fruit in more "works" than the Law could ever contemplate.


Paul is undoubtedly hard to understand. His style often reflects the rabbinical style of argument of his day, and often his thought skips on mountaintops while we plod below. But perhaps our problems are accentuated by the fact that so many beautiful jewels have become part of the everyday coin in our Christian language (see quote, below).


"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Daily Prayer - 2016-01-25


Lord, help me to be fully alive to your Holy presence.
Enfold me in your love.
Let my heart become one with yours.


Dear Lord, instil in my heart
the desire to know and love you more.
May I respond to your will for my life.


In God's loving presence I unwind the past day,
starting from now and looking back, moment by moment.
I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude.
I attend to the shadows and what they say to me,
seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word of God

Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

Reading 1 Acts 22:3-16

Paul addressed the people in these words:
"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia,
but brought up in this city.
At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law
and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death,
binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.
Even the high priest and the whole council of elders
can testify on my behalf.
For from them I even received letters to the brothers
and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem
in chains for punishment those there as well.

"On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'
I replied, 'Who are you, sir?'
And he said to me,
'I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.'
My companions saw the light
but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
I asked, 'What shall I do, sir?'
The Lord answered me, 'Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told about everything
appointed for you to do.'
Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light,
I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.

"A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law,
and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
came to me and stood there and said,
'Saul, my brother, regain your sight.'
And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him.
Then he said,
'The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will,
to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice;
for you will be his witness before all
to what you have seen and heard.
Now, why delay?
Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away,
calling upon his name.'"

Or Acts 9:1-22

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
He said, "Who are you, sir?"
The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, AAnanias."
He answered, "Here I am, Lord."
The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight."
But Ananias replied,
"Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name."
But the Lord said to him,
"Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name."
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
"Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
All who heard him were astounded and said,
"Is not this the man who in Jerusalem
ravaged those who call upon this name,
and came here expressly to take them back in chains
to the chief priests?"
But Saul grew all the stronger
and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus,
proving that this is the Christ.

Responsorial Psalm PS 117:1bc, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Alleluia See Jn 15:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 16:15-18

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
"Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

- - -

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • At one point Jesus said that it was to the 'lost sheep of the house of Israel' (of the Jewish people) that he had been sent. But in this scene, as he leaves this earth and ascends into heaven, he tells his followers to set no bounds to their preaching - they are to 'take on' the whole pagan world.
  • Saint Paul was to be the great example of this. We celebrate today this special 'call' which followed his conversion to the cause of Christ. From now on, nobody is to be considered 'out of bounds' when it comes to spreading Jesus' message.


What is stirring in me as I pray?
Am I consoled, troubled, left cold?
I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side and share my feelings with him.


I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.

Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Acts 22:3-16

View NAB Reading at USCCB.org

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The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle (Feast)

Why delay? (Acts 22:16)

Think of two newlyweds. They may tell their friends about the fireworks that went off when they first met. Perhaps she talks about how she first saw him at a dance and was "knocked off her feet." Perhaps he tells of how he was so nervous that he barely knew what to say to her. It's all so exciting, but there is much more to their story than these first impressions. There was a first date, followed by many more dates, phone calls, and long conversations. It took a while before they were ready for marriage.

That progression also applies to St. Paul. As we see in today's reading, the day he met Jesus was the most unforgettable day of his life. It literally knocked him off his feet! He went from a sworn enemy of Christianity to one of its greatest champions.

Again, it didn't stop there. Paul had many more encounters with Jesus that we aren't told about. Some may not have been as dramatic as his first one, but each one was still important in its own right. And with each encounter, his knowledge and love of the Lord grew.

Maybe you had a dramatic conversion experience like Paul's. Or maybe your "conversion" was more gradual and unfolded over the course of many years. Whatever your situation, know that you are not finished encountering Jesus. He has more to give you. He has more to teach you.

Imagine the marvel that occurs every time you come into his presence, whether in your private prayer, at Adoration, or in the Mass. Jesus Christ, Lord of the universe, comes down from heaven to be present to you—no matter who you are or what you have done or failed to do. He comes to show you his love more deeply. He comes to give you courage and strength to face your challenges. He comes to give you a taste of his peace. And most important, he comes to join you to himself more deeply.

So why delay? Today—and every day—is a perfect opportunity to meet Jesus and be more deeply converted to him.

"Lord, help me to encounter you in a special way today. Fill me with your fire, and give me a new boldness to spread your gospel of peace."

Psalm 117:1-2
Mark 16:15-18

Whoever Believes


This past Sunday we read that we are one body, in one spirit.  Today, the Lord our God, Jesus, He spoke to Saul in a great light, all he could see was light and the light spoke "'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'".  Saul was like "who are you?"  Keep in mind, this Saul was an all knower of God right?  He grew up and was zealous for righteousness.  Then, righteousness appeared...Jesus.  Saul didn't see His face.  Saul didn't shake His hand.  Saul didn't eat with Him.  Saul just heard Him.  Saul just realized he was in the light...what is truly right...Jesus.  In all your doubts and in all your thinkings, the only right is Jesus, the light.  How can you lock up other people?  Just because they don't believe?  How many of us do this?  We discard them for not believing instead of reaching out to them.  Saul, as zealous as he was, was about to take his faith to the next level, from being the pursuer, to the one being persecuted in the name of Jesus the Christ, in the name of love.  How many of us are ready for this light?  Is it the right time in your life for this light?  Yes.  Yes, it hasn't passed, it is now, and now always.
Go out to all the world and tell the good news.  The good news always is Jesus, the Gospels are the Good News.  How will this light up your day?  Will it knock you off your high horse?  Will it make you blind to what the world wants you to see and believe?  Will this good news be the warmth of your heart?  Our beautiful Lord said it over and over, to go out to the ends of the earth and baptize, tell the good news, "I have come to save them, I have come to be with them".  Anyone lift a finger against His people is laying hands on Christ Himself.  And you?  Who are you daring to lift a finger and raise your voice at?  I know of several that yell at the priest and make him cry, and that saddens the rest, like children with their father.  How many do you know that put down others?  It's the same thing spiritually as locking them up in jail.   This is not the good news.  The good news is of a giving and saving Lord.  Are you willing to give now that you will be changed, even your name?  What if your name isn't really who you think you are?  God has more in store...
In comes the Lord of our lives, ""Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature."  If you are a parent, are you proclaiming the Gospel to your children?  Every day?  By the way you live?  By the way you talk?  By the way you...walk?  Because God walks a certain funny way.  Learn how to walk that way.  Learn the quirks of His smile.  Learn how extremely giving He is.  We live in extreme debt.  Don't think about money right now, don't think about our country right now, and don't think about your financial situation.  We live in an extreme debt to our Lord.  We could never repay Him. NEVER, for our sins, and if you think you have none, then, you better pray for the light to shine those dark spots in your life.  This thought should open our eyes, to be able to go into the WHOLE WORLD and proclaim the Gospel to ever creature.  It is the least we could do.  But do you?  How can I proclaim every day to my co-workers?  Some of them avoid me.  Some of them I've tried.  Some of them I can't seem to relate to.  Some of them don't listen.  Sounds like you've given up.  How can I proclaim as a housewife?  How can I proclaim the Gospel?  Do I have to sit on streetcorners?  We can't all do that.  But we can all do our part.  And that part is what we're after here.  Have you given up?   I just opened up randomly the book "The Imitation of Christ" to let the Lord answer that question for us, and it read:  "The noble love of Jesus urges us to do great things and spurs us on to desire perfection.  Love tends upward to God and is not occupied with the things of the earth.  Love also will be free from all worldly affections, so that its inner vision does not become dimmed, nor does it let itself be trapped by any temporal interest or downcast by misfortune".   If the Lord does not give up, then who am I to give up?  This is the question for you who believe He has not answered your prayer.  Because among His body are those praying for you.  And even more when you ask for prayer.  When the Lord sends us out to proclaim, it is an offering of Himself through you and me, and our acceptance of Him through others.  God speaks to me.  He does.  How?  Through others.  How do I know God loves me?  When you show me.  How does God know I love Him?  When I love you.  Those who believe will do amazing things, like drive out demons, speak new languages, pick up serpents, and lay hands on others to be healed.  Do you believe?  Because Jesus said "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."  Every creature is waiting.  Are you waiting too?  In spanish waiting is said like "esperando" which is the same as being pregnant.  And when a woman gives birth it is said "dio luz", she gave light.  And this is the new life.  This light is new life.  Saul the sinner turned into Saint Paul.  Let the light consume you and listen and be made new!

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