Saul was traveling to Damascus to arrest those in the synagogues who followed Jesus, and bring them to Jerusalem in chains. How could Saul be persecuting him if he was dead? Visit the Calling Lab to get started. Discuss your experience with the idea of a calling from God with your group. It was within the Roman province of Syria and was one of the towns of the Decapolis, a league of 10 self-governing cities. (Witherington), Paul’s Calling — This passage holds the story of Paul receiving his calling. The Elites Are Preparing a New Currency to Replace the U.S. Dollar. When we are in the midst of suffering or pain, how does the awareness of and partnership with Jesus contribute to our perseverance? Question: "When and why was Saul’s name changed to Paul?" 7:14). Conversion is not meant only for non-Christians or non-Catholics; conversion is not something that is only meant for those who have led dramatically sinful lives; conversion is a re-orientation of our wills toward God’s, a change of heart wherein we seek what God wills, and strive to do what He is calling us to do. Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Learn more. It meant the path characterized by life and salvation. While this is a tale that most of us are familiar with, it would behoove us to recount the story here, in order to fully immerse ourselves in this seminal moment. Paul's conversion experience is discussed in both the Pauline epistles and in the Acts of the Apostles. Many people believe that conversion to Christ happens by praying a “sinner’s prayer.” Yet Saul was praying for three days and received no forgiveness (Acts 22:16). We know this was the same man, as Paul himself would later recount the story and identify himself and his role: “And when the blood of your witness Stephen was being shed, I myself stood by giving my approval and keeping guard over the cloaks of his murders.” (Acts 22:20) What a dramatic change! At the time of Christ, Saul was born in Tarsus, a coastal city now located in Turkey. Catholic Exchange is a project of Sophia Institute Press. Saul — Much of what we need to know about Paul at this point in the Acts narrative can be found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Jesus? This text portrays one of the historical landmarks of the … “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.” Here we are told, out of the mouth of the Lord Himself, that Paul is to carry the word of God to all peoples, to the gentiles, as well as the Israelites (Paul’s own people), kings as well as common folk. The conversion of St. Paul is one of the most important and sea-changing moments in the history of Christianity. The conversion of St. Paul is important to us for two reasons. “Lord,” he said, “I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. On various occasions in his epistles, Paul made either direct or indirect references to his former life of opposition and his radical conversion. 20 Things Most People Learn Too Late In Life, A Woman Turned in Her Neighbour, Turned Out He was a Serial Killer, I’ve Been Hiding My Investment Strategy (Out of Fear) for 6 Years. Jesus told Saul to go into the city, and get instructions there. Where are you on that path? Former Swiss Guard Serves a Feast for the Imagination in, The Lost Riches of Catholic Catechisms with Aaron Seng of Tradivox, The Catholic Faith in Public Life After the 2020 Election with Derek Rotty, We Can Spiritually Grow Together While Social Distancing | Simone Rizkallah. The New Testament record of the conversion of the apostle Paul is a tremendously important element of Christian history.It has a significant apologetic thrust, and is likewise wonderfully illustrative of the crucial elements of the Lord’s plan for human redemption.