29 October 2006

On the Apostle Paul

His Holiness reflected on the person of Saint Paul of Tarsus during his Wednesday General Audience October 25th.

Referring to Paul as "a star of first grandeur in the history of the Church," the Holy Father noted that Paul's conversion "was not the result of nice thoughts, of reflections, but the fruit of a divine intervention, of an unforeseen divine grace."

So very often we try to amend our lives and change our ways simply through our own initiative, giving all too little attention to the role of God in the change of hearts, both of our own and of others. Paul shows us, then, that we must yield to the power and love of Christ.

Indeed, "What matters", His Holiness remarked, "is to put Jesus Christ at the center of our lives, so that our identity is characterized essentially by the encounter, by communion with Christ and his Word. In his light, every other value must be recovered and purified of possible dross."

When one considers that Paul "dedicated himself to make this Gospel known," and that "difficulties were not lacking in Paul's apostolate, which he faced with courage for love of Christ," His Holiness asked, "How can such a man not be admired? How can we not thank the Lord for having given us an apostle of his stature?"

Pope Benedict XVI closed his reflections with a prayer asking the Lord to "help us to live the exhortation that the Apostle left us in his letters: 'Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ' (I Corinthians 11:1)."

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