I am still more, with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, far worse threats, and numerous brushes with death. Five times at the hands of the Jews I received forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I passed a night and a day on the deep, on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers; in toil and in hardship, through many sleepless nights, through hunger and thirst, through frequent fasts, through cold and exposure. And apart from these things there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led to sin and I am not indignant?
-Saint Paul, Second Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 11, verses 23-29.
On today’s feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, we marvel at the zeal and accomplishments of the greatest missionary ever. There was nothing convenient about his intentional discipleship. Even more amazing than his undeterred spirit, and his list of achievements, is the fact that he won all those souls for Christ without the aid of a lengthy pastoral planning commission document on hymns, homilies and hospitality.
What was the key to his success? “For I know Him in whom I have believed.” (2 Timothy 1:12). Only that, and nothing else, spreads the Faith. May Saint Paul pray for the conversion of all of our hearts.