I was the first to spot them – the Catholic school kids walking past our playground on their way home from school. I knew nothing of these kids, only that the girls wore red plaid skirts and that they were different in some way.
We must have been learning about the Revolutionary War in social studies class. I led the charge: “The British are coming! The British are coming!” Several classmates joined in, running along the fence line and teasing the passing children.
I wonder what those kids thought, how they felt, and what they told their parents when they got home. I wonder how their parents responded?
I wonder if one of those families had the kindness and charity to pray for me and my misguided friends? I wonder if my conversion to the Catholic Church, my conversion to Child of God, can be attributed to the prayers of those persecuted children and their parents?
And so the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul has me thinking of my own conversion. A conversion from the person that I was, long ago, in elementary school, to the person I became in high school, college, professional life, newly married, newly mommied, newly catechized, newly confirmed. The conversion is far from complete and I have a long way to go to completely overcome the person I was and become the person I’m meant to be. But with God’s grace, I can decide, every moment of every day, to make choices that keep me moving in the right direction, baby step by baby step, toward Him and His love.
Today’s Feast also has me thinking about the people who remain misguided and misinformed. Coinciding with the March for Life, it reminds me to pray for the conversion of those who support abortion, those who are considering abortion, and those who actively take part in the abortion industry.
Just as Saul persecuted the Christians, just as I persecuted those Catholic school children, so today we Catholics and Christians are experiencing persecution. And so I am reminded to pray for an end to the HHS mandate, for the judges and justices who will determine the outcome of the lawsuits, and for the organizations that are practicing civil disobedience in obedience to God.
Those who advocate abortion and the destruction of our religious freedoms will probably never experience what Paul experienced – Jesus, standing before him, saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” But through our prayers and fasting, our willingness to stand up for what we believe in and to share the Truth, these people can come to recognize their status as children of God. In so doing, they will recognize the earliest life as a child of God, and the Church as a blessed assembly of us all.
To see last year’s reflection on the Conversion of St. Paul, click here.