Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”
But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Saul’s conversion is one that spouses, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and friends desire for loved ones who are antagonistic, apathetic, or distant toward God. Their prayer is that Jesus will reach out to their loved ones the way he reached out to Saul.
Scales falling from Saul’s eyes so that he can see again – out of darkness into the light – is a vivid image. Equally vivid are my parents’ words as they looked back on their lives: “We don’t know what we would have done without our faith.”
What is it that you see because of your faith in God? How can you share it with loved ones so that they can hear you as Saul heard Jesus?
—Fr. Chris Manahan, SJ, is director of the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago, near Oshkosh, WI.
patroness of fathers and mothers,
please take our children,
especially those who have turned
from the ways of God and His Church,
under your protection.
Help them always remain faithful
to their baptismal vows.
Give them strength to walk always
in the ways of the Lord,
despite the temptations
and false values they find in the world today.
Grant that they may share with you
in the joys of eternal life in God. Amen.
—Prayer to St. MonicaPlease share the Good Word with your friends!