Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Master of the Life of St. Paul Final Essay
By Rev. Patricia Buben
One of the greatest voices which the world had ever heard was that of the Apostle Paul. He became by far the dominating figure of the Apostolic Age. Peter was great; John was great; most of the Disciples and many of the Christians of that day achieved greatness uncommon to the average individual, but Paul was greater. New Testament history confirms this truth.
The greatness of Paul was realized as the direct result of his complete abandonment to the commands of Christ—especially that which states that he who loses his life "for My sake" shall "find it." Paul achieved his greatness by being tenacious. He was violently driven out from many cities and towns. He always reappeared eventually, with complete confidence in the cause he espoused. His sufferings served to make him strong.
Overcoming his prior life as the persecuting Saul of Tarsus, who killed many Christians, was not an easy task. Saul was converted when, on the road to Damascus, a vivid light appeared from heaven, blinding him. Jesus appeared to him and asks "why are you persecuting me?" and continues to have a conversation with him directing him to go into the city to learn what he was to do. Paul went into Damascus and remained blind for three days until Ananias restored his sight and baptized him. Right then and there, Paul went from being the "chief of sinners" to the "chief of saints".
The success achieved by Paul was because he pursued two important avenues of the Christian experience:
- He became the interpreter of Christ, speaking the words that Christ himself would have said under the circumstances. He had never met Christ, except in the vision on the road to Damascus.
- Paul followed the doctrinal and theological school of thought which was nothing more than the explanation of his own, personal conversion.
These two truths explain the reasons for Paul's outstanding success in Christian living, preaching and teaching. Paul focused on the Western world, rather than the Eastern one. So, it is Paul's influence that carried throughout the Western world and remains today.
This is a very in-depth class on St. Paul and every aspect of his life and teaching. It is very well-written and detailed. I found it fascinating and would highly recommend it. St. Paul is a very popular saint who is still in the minds of people today. A good example of this is the Vatican recently validating that the body in the Tomb of St. Paul is truly his.
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