On this Feast Day of St. Paul, we must remember that it wasn’t
’s conversion story that turned the world upside down, though it certainly surprised those he had persecuted and outraged old friends. St. Paul was more concerned with living the faith, keeping the faith, and dying in the faith. With great humility, this servant of the Lord writes, It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it . . . forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead (Philippians 3:12-13). St. Paul
It was not enough to be converted. It was not enough to be beaten and imprisoned and stoned. It was not enough to be shipwrecked or tossed out of one city gate after another.
knew that he must not only run the race well. He must finish the race well. St. Paul
In the early 1990s, I lived north of
. One evening, our family visited the home of a parishioner who had worked as an executive producer at Turner Broadcasting System. Ira gave us a tour of his beautiful house. I was surprised to see a number of Oscars lined up on one shelf in his office and asked him if they were real. He nodded, and I told him that I was impressed. He said, “Don’t be.” And then he explained that, in his business, one was always working on the next thing, not looking back. I was intrigued by his humility and impressed by his tenacity. Atlanta, Georgia
If one can be tenacious for the things of this world, why not be consumed with the work of the
. That’s what Kingdom of God would say. Fight the good fight. Run the race. And win the prize. St. Paul
I am blessed to be a part of this network of Gospel living. Sure, conversion stories are great.
They inspire cradle Catholics who find it exciting that God is still calling people to conversion. But there is more.
Without a doubt, the best conversion story is the one that keeps going and growing long after the first conversion. And I’ll be honest with you.
The work that comes after that first conversion is more exhausting and demanding, because few see it, even fewer affirm it, and almost nobody applauds. Even so, let us run the race as did. Moreover, let us finish the race as St. Paul did! St. Paul
For the grace to finish the race well,
, pray for us! St. Paul