FEast: June 29th
missions, theologians, writers, camping, equestrians
Paul (which was his Latin name - his Jewish name was Saul), was born in Tarsus, which is now part of Turkey, around the turn of the first century. He was part of a prominent Jewish family, likely full of other Pharisees, which Paul soon became as well. He was sent away to a well-respected school when he was young, and also learned leather and tent making skills. Not much else is known about him until we find that he took an active role in persecuting, torturing, and arresting Christians. He was even present at and took part in the martyrdom of St. Stephen.
Paul was traveling when one day he had a vision of Jesus that was so bright it blinded him. He heard Jesus' voice asking him why he was persecuting him. He was led for 3 days in his blindness as he fasted and spent time in prayer until a man named Ananias was sent to him to restore his sight and baptize him.
Paul then set out on his mission to travel the world and tell as many people as he could about Jesus. He went to Jerusalem to meet St. Peter as well.
Paul then set out on three journeys, the first of which St. Barnabus accompanied him for, through Cyprus and Asia Minor. They helped build churches and set up communities. Paul kept up with these communities even after they had traveled away through many letters in which he gave advice and answered questions.
He continued to travel through much of what is now Europe, despite continued antagonism from the Jewish people (who were accusing Paul of stealing their people for Christianity), and from Roman authorities, and he was imprisoned for many years for his outspokenness.
During these journeys, he suffered shipwrecks, beatings, communities turning on him, opposition to his ideas by other Apostles, companions deserting him, churches preaching incorrect ideas, resorting back to his tent-making profession to support himself, riots, and attacks on his life.
Finally, in Rome around the year 63-67, Paul was arrested and put on trial a final time. Early documents and Church writings agreed that he was martyred, but the method is unknown, with most suggesting he was beheaded. His death was likely part of the persecution by the Roman emperor Nero (who may have known Paul personally), and it is suggested that he was killed around the same time, or possibly even the same day, as Peter. He was buried outside the city walls, and Emperor Constantine built a church there during his reign.
it is so scary to have a shaking up of our entire worldview and all our beliefs. We feel we have no solid ground and wonder if we’ve done anything right, and what to do now. Help us to know that changing beliefs can be for the better, even when scary, and we will feel solid again.
Bearing some scars and an exhausted expression from his tireless work and travels, I still wanted St. Paul to have a gleam in his eye, representing the mission that was more important to him than his life and freedom.