The Christian Tradition rightly upholds St. Paul and his radical shift from persecuting Christians to preaching the Gospel of Jesus. I am grateful for his model of a 180 degree conversion and passionate love and action for Jesus. That just doesn’t happen to be many people’s primary experience of how God works in their lives.
There are times in my life that I can quickly and strongly recall when I have felt internally God’s presence and known God’s love. But my experience of God has tended to be a slow, methodical, deepening of faith, often incorporating two steps forward and one step backward, rather than a fast “one and done.”
Some Christian faith traditions have tended to emphasize the Pauline “blinded by the light” moment of conversion, being born again at a particular time and place. Others have recognized a slow, patient, sometimes monotonous conversion over a lifetime of prayer, ritual, and good habits. I believe the “good news” is that God can (and does) work both ways, sometimes with the same person.
So please read and admire and appreciate St. Paul’s radical conversion story. Then read the wisdom of a wonderful Jesuit, paleontologist, and mystic who died in 1955, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J:
Dear God, quickly or slowly or a little of both, please help us to grow ever closer to You, converting ever deeper to your love and desires for us and our world. Amen.
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook