Have you ever heard the beginning of a story and then, upon recognition, quit listening? That happened to me with the first reading today, the conversion story of St. Paul. I was lucky, though, as I noticed what I was doing. So I reread the story and was amazed by what I would have missed.
Saul (later named Paul) sat in Damascus for three days unable to see and did not eat or drink —3 DAYS! What would happen to me if I went without food and drink for that long? When Saul made it to the house of Judas, he is praying. What? Was he reciting familiar prayers over and over? Was he reading devotional books? Was he in conversation with God? What must that have been like for him, especially in his current blind and hungry condition?
Then Paul stayed with the disciples for some days. I imagine he wanted to learn more about this Jesus whom he was persecuting and now will “begin at once” to proclaim. It must have been some intense catechesis!
In so many stories of our faith, there lie many opportunities for growth. Don’t leave these stories early. You might miss out on some amazing graces God is tossing out there for you.
—Fr. Kevin Schneider, SJ is the director of adult spirituality programs at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE. He is a spiritual director and offers parish missions and retreats in the style of Ignatian Spirituality.