The conversion of Paul is such an important event in the history of Christianity that Luke describes it three times in Acts of the Apostles (Acts 9:1-19, 22:3-16, and 26: 9-18).
William James in his classic, The Varieties of Religious Experience, describes the results of conversion: we have a sense that a higher power is grasping us; there is a loss of worry and anxiety; we see truths not known before, or truths become clearer; the world appears more beautiful than before; we have a sense of happiness, even ecstasy.
Isn’t this really a description of what happens when we fall in love? Paul’s conversion—falling in love with Jesus—came suddenly. For most of us it is a slow life-long process. The Greek word for conversion is metanoia, that is, a change in our way of thinking. When we fall in love with Jesus we begin to take on his way of thinking . . . and his way of loving people.
Who and what am I in love with these days?
What type of metanoia is God inviting within me . . . today?
—Fr. Bob Braunreuther, S.J., a New England Jesuit, assists in pastoral ministry at Loyola University Chicago, and is minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit Community.