Daily Devotion for June 16, 2010
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day; when I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for Family and Friends
Blessed are You, loving Father, For all your gifts to us. Blessed are You for giving us family and friends To be with us in times of joy and sorrow, To help us in days of need, And to rejoice with us in moments of celebration.
Father, We praise You for Your Son Jesus, Who knew the happiness of family and friends, And in the love of Your Holy Spirit. Blessed are you for ever and ever.
Irish BlessingDeep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of evil and cruel men.
For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother's womb. I will ever praise you.
The Conversion of St. Paul
Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" He asked, "Who are you, Lord?" The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." He answered, "Here I am, Lord." The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight."
But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name." But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."
So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Notes on the Scripture
St. Paul began life as a man named Saul; he was a Jew who had been granted Roman citizenship. After Christ's death and resurrection, the Hebrew political establishment viciously suppressed the sect of Christ worshippers, and Saul was one of their enforcers. He would seek out Christians, arrest them, and march them to Jerusalem for trial and often execution.
Ironically, he became the greatest Christian theologian of all time; his letters (epistles) comprise a major part of the New Testament.
It was not persuasion or a gradual change of heart that led Saul to the Word. Christ simply "smacked him up side the head" so hard that he was blinded; having gotten his full attention, Christ then ordered him to go to Damascus, gave him direct knowledge of Christ's divinity, and through a revelation to another man (Ananias) ordered him to spread His Word to Jew and Gentile alike.