A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Friday, April 27, 2007

The evildoer becomes God’s chosen

In today’s first reading (Acts 9:1-20) we hear the rather familiar account of the conversion of Saul. This account tells us of miracles and wonders and yet this brief exchange captures the most amazing aspect of the event:

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.”

The evildoer has become God’s “chosen instrument”, not as an instrument of wrath or earthly liberation (functions exercised by certain nonbelievers in the Old Testament), but as a messenger of God’s holy name.

By the grace of God he has turned from his evil way and seeks that which is good.

That, of course, is what conversion is all about: what the power of God’s grace can do to even the most despicable of people.

You and I might not be despicable. Perhaps we have committed terrible sins or perhaps we are just well-meaning people wallowing in spiritual mediocrity.

God’s grace is there for us, through his merciful will, as a juggernaut for our conversion: conversion from evildoers to Gospel witnesses, conversion from milquetoast churchgoers to champions of Christian truth and love.