Pay particular attention to the procession...unexpected Heavenly Light, new Life in the Spirit, abiding Love in Christ even to the shedding of his own blood.
Saul—dead-set on destroying the Way—was on the road to Damascus with a written commission to fulfill the role of an anti-Christ.
Being a devout Jew, Saul might have been praying for strength, praying to YHVH. He might have even felt a bit like Moses, for at the time he was traveling much the same way as the patriarch did, to deal out justice to the enemies of his people in order to set them free from error. Might he have been “climbing a mountain” spiritually as his mind focused more intently upon executing the mandates of the Law? Was he himself in a deadly spiral like his namesake King Saul, on a similar path toward vengeful ruin?
The Mystical City of God, the writings of Venerable Mary of Agreda tell us that the Blessed Virgin Mary was prostrate in prayer for she was pleading for deliverance from the impending scourge. She was imploring God to move Saul’s soul to the Truth of her Son.
God heard Mary. He sent a blinding Light earthward to strike the pride of Saul “right between the eyes (I’s?) and render him a lump of clay to be reformed in Christ’s image and likeness.
By knocking him to the ground, God set Saul into a receptive posture. He then was able to speak to his soul, Jesus asking the question "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?" Acts 9:4
Let’s stop here and recap.
Saul was of sound mind and body, and he had a willing heart for the fulfillment of the Law. On the natural level he had all the makings of a born leader and might have had a highly successful career in law, politics or as a soldier (and potentially king?)
But God had other plans for this New Testament, second Saul of the bible...supernatural plans.
Supernatural Light was needed and it was provided first. Darkness was imposed with the blinding of Saul's sense of sight. He was placed in a humble state of submission to the Will of God. From this perceptive-receptive posture, he was able to hear the voice of God, the direct words of Jesus that spoke to his soul, infused in such a way that they could not be denied. The only way to respond to such an intimate encounter with the Almighty is to be reflective, that is to give back to God in thankful prayer a life of service to others, radiating His Truth to the world.
Saul remained blinded until he began to straighten out his life on Straight Street, Damascus. This new life in the Spirit was offered through the instrumentality of Ananias who taught Saul the lesson of uncommon and unconditional Love that Christians are called to witness to, to die for. This Supernatural Life is what Jesus offered to the Father for our redemption during the imposed darkness at the 3 o'clock hour on Mt. Calvary. Do we now see the profound interaction between Light and Darkness, between Life and Death? They are intimately linked in God's plan. They harken back to the dawn of Creation.
We all know the story of St. Paul's missionary journeys, the great race to the end, a life of love which led to his eventual martyrdom in Rome. This Supernatural Love is best evidenced by his own confession. "It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me." Galations 2:20 This is not only an admission of human life abiding in superhuman life. No, it is also humble acknowledgement that the LOVE that others see in St. Paul’s acts of courageous witness to the TRUTH is none other than the LOVE of the Divine Savior pouring through the veins of a humble, willing servant. It is submission, a fiat, not unlike the Blessed Mother's "Be it done unto me according to Thy will."
Light, Life and Love are a Trinitarian pattern, a three-ring reality that brings us right to the heart of the matter. They are the revealed essence of personal relationships within the Triune God, the Father, His only begotten Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is through Light, Life and Love, that God relates Himself to created humanity.
Light, Life and Love are therefore Haloed Words. They are Super-essential Words that are not to be divided, manipulated or misused...they are absolute because they flow from the Absolute Being, the Supreme Being, the Triune God…Pure unapproachable Light, The Way the Truth and the Life and the Love that gave up His Body, commended His Spirit to the Father and died for our sins.
Early in his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI used powerful imagery in describing the Christian witness needed in the New Evangelization of this Third Christian Millennium. In a homily to a huge mass of assembled youth at Marienfeld, Cologne during 2005 WYD he teaches us:
What is happening? How can Jesus distribute his Body and his Blood?
In Deus Caritas Est he explains it thus:
Pope Kicks Off Year of St. Paul
Will Have Ecumenical Dimension
Sincerely yours in Jesus and Mary,
Mike Rizzio, SOLT
Become like Jesus
Live for the Triune God
Seek the Light of Our Lord Jesus Christ
See you on the High Ground!
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* - J.M.J. + O.B.T. + M.G.R. stands for: Jesus, Mary and Joseph;
O Beata Trinitas; St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael