January 31, 2018
St. John Bosco
Dear Family of Mary!
“…Open your hearts and read the Sacred Scripture, that through the testimonies you also may be closer to God…” (January 25, 2018)
The Sacred Scriptures are indescribable. They are revealed truth! In them we find God’s truth made tangible in teachings and in stories. I think it is the stories that Our Lady is referring to as the “testimonies”. The stories in the Bible are true and also enact the Truth for us. Old and New Testaments contain God’s word for us, God’s way of seeing things, God’s heart of love.
There are many testimonies in the Bible, stories of conversion like Regina Collins’ story that I quoted yesterday. And right away I think of the story of St. Paul’s conversion. It is very much like Regina’s story. St. Paul not only did not believe in Jesus; he was persecuting everyone who did. Regina did not like God at all. She was angry with God and took it out on others. Both of them were hard cases to crack.
But in both cases we see how God, in his tender mercy, found a way to reveal Himself to them. Here is St. Paul’s “testimony” found in Acts 22:3-16:
“I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cili’cia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gama’li-el, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as you all are this day. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, as the high priest and the whole council of elders bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brethren, and I journeyed to Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.
“As I made my journey and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, `Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ And I answered, `Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, `I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.’
“Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. And I said, `What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, `Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’
“And when I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.
“And one Anani’as, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing by me said to me, `Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And in that very hour I received my sight and saw him. And he said, `The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Just One and to hear a voice from his mouth; for you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’
St. Paul had a dramatic meeting with Jesus in the desert. He was knocked down, and blinded by God’s bright light. He was infused with understanding of who Jesus is, and what God was doing. I wonder if the light felt something like what Regina described, a living, flowing energy that enveloped her in the love of God. It would seem so, because immediately Paul believed and loved the Lord and would do anything He asked.
Such testimonies do bring us closer to God. We see God’s tender mercy for His children. And then we can open our hearts to the possibility that He loves each of us in the same way. It is mercy that flows through conversion stories, the mercy of an ever-loving God who won’t give up until we are safe with Him in Heaven.
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
©Mary TV 2018