“GALILEE OR DAMASCUS?” (Acts 9:1-22): 25 January 2008 (Conversion of St. Paul, Friday)
Today we remember the conversion of St. Paul, one of the greatest and most zealous missionaries in all of Christian history. Before his conversion, Paul was Saul, a typical “bad guy.” He was a strict Pharisee, belonging to that class of Jews known for its excessive allergy to all things unclean and impure. And what could be more impure to Judaism than this new sect that threatened to break away? The first time we encounter his name in the New Testament is at the stoning of Stephen, the first martyr of the Church. After that, he came to be known as one of the fiercest persecutors of the early Christian Church. Small wonder that Saul was hated as much as he was feared.