10 Quotes from Saint Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles

Today in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we celebrate the feast of The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle. One of the most powerful miracles in the Early Church was the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, while he was traveling to Damascus. This miracle displays for us how faith develops from grace and builds when someone freely cooperates with it. The doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ was given clarity and evidence when Our Lord says – “Saul, Saul, why do persecute me?

As we celebrate this important feast in the Catholic Church, here are 10 of my favorite quotes from St. Paul (alas – the Sacred Scriptures!) to the Gentiles. There are many lines that I could quote but here’s an idea for you – start reading the New Testament if you haven’t read it already. You will love reading about the very Early Church!

1. “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality.” – Romans 12:9-13

2. “But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God” – Romans 15:14-17

3. “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more.  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews; to those under the law I became as one under the law—though not being myself under the law—that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law—not being without law toward God but under the law of Christ—that I might win those outside the law.  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” – 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

4. “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” – 1 Corinthians 11:27-29

Conversion of Saint Paul – Caravaggio (1600)

5. “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit[a] by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so many things in vain? – if it really is in vain.  Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?” – Galatians 3:1-5

6. “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” – Ephesians 5:21-33

7. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” – Ephesians 6:10-18

8. “Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:5-11

9. “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning[e] to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit[f] and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15

10. “Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but take your share of suffering for the gospel in the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago, and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher,  and therefore I suffer as I do.” – 2 Timothy 1:8-11

Saint Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles…Pray for Us

Translation used: Revised Standard Edition – Second Catholic Edition. Ignatius Press, 2006.

Fr. Thomas Roscia, C.S.B on the Pillars of the Church: Saints Peter and Paul

Tomorrow is the great Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. It’s the day we commemorate the martyrdom of these two great figures and pillars of the Christian Church. For an extensive explanation of these two great and holy men, please read my post from one year ago – Saints Peter and Paul: Apostles and Pillars of the Christian Church.

Below is 5 minute video from Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B. of Salt + Light Media giving us a beautiful explanation and reflection on Saints Peter and Paul. I encourage you to watch it and share it with others today and tomorrow.

Fr. Roscia summarizes the two great Saints when he says, “Peter’s journey was from the weakness of denial to the rock of fidelity. He gave us the ultimate witness of the cross. Paul’s pilgrimage was from the blindness of persecution to the fire of proclamation. He made the Word of God come alive for the nations.”

Wow! I don’t know about you, but this FIRES me up! Please spread this throughout the Social Media world today, my brothers and sisters. The world needs to know the truth about these two great apostles.

Saints Peter and Paul…Pray For Us!

 

Saints Peter and Paul – Apostles and Pillars of the Christian Church

Today is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles and two great pillars of the Christian Church. In Acts of the Apostles, we read about these great saints of the Christian Church. The first twelve chapters of Acts focus on Peter and chapters 13-28 focus on Paul. Acts of the Apostles was written by St. Luke the Evangelist, as the second part of his great work written to Theophilus. His Gospel is part one.

Let ‘s take a look at these two pillars of the Church one by one and then we will examine how they are similar in their teachings and actions in Acts.

St. Peter was a Galilean fisherman with Sts. James and John on Lake Gennesaret (also known as the Sea of Galilee and Sea of Tiberius). The defining moment for Peter is in Matthew 16:16-20. Jesus asks, who do you say that I am? Peter responds, “You are the Christ.” Jesus then changes his name from Simon to Cephas, which translates into “rock” (Aramaic) and Petros (Greek).

There are three major themes in Matthew 16:18-19:

First, as rock, Peter is now the foundation of the Church. He is the rock on which the Church would be built upon and stands for centuries. Karl Adam in his book, The Spirit of Catholicism says, “Peter’s confession assures Him that Simon will be an imperishable “rock” for His Church. He is certain of the imperishableness of the Church. It will never perish, since it will always be a Church founded on a rock. There will always be a living Peter, whose faith will confirm his brethren. It lies at the basis of His words that His Church will never be without that strong foundation which He gave it at Caesarea Philipp, because its continuance depends upon this foundation.”

Second, he is given the keys to the kingdom of God. He is now the leader and Christ’s representative on earth. St. Peter is the New Prime Minister for the New Davidic Kingdom. In the Davidic Kingdom in the Old Testament, the king appointed one man from his viceroys to be the primary individual in charge of the others. Essentially, this man was the Prime Minister of the kingdom. When the king was not present in the kingdom, the Prime Minister would stand in for him. The Prime Minister would hold keys of the kingdom around his neck for protection. St. Peter now becomes the Vicar of Christ. This is still a term that we use to describe the Pope today. The vicar is one who stands “in the person of” and possesses the authority of the king. In the case of St. Peter and Jesus Christ, Peter is given the keys to the kingdom and now possesses the authority of Jesus Christ on earth.

Thirdly, St. Peter is given authority to make decisions for the Church – to bind and to loose. The Primacy of Peter is the authority of Christ given to St. Peter and his successors, the popes. The Pope that sits in the Chair of St. Peter has full, supreme, and universal authority over the entire Church. The Papacy is the Church’s highest moral and doctrinal authority. The Holy Father has final word on matters of faith and morals and speaks with infallibility on such matters. Pope Benedict XVI says, “Let us pray that the Primacy of Peter, entrusted to poor human beings, will always be exercised in this original sense as the Lord desired, and that its true meaning will therefore always be recognized by the brethren who are not yet in full communion with us” (The Apostles).

Saint Peter died a martyrs’ death by crucifixion in the year 64 A.D. under the Roman Emperor, Nero. He requested that he be flipped upside down on the cross since he did not think he was worthy to die the same way that Jesus died. His remains are buried under the main altar of the basilica that bears his name in Rome on the Vatican hill.

St. Paul, also known as Saul was born around 5 A.D. in the seaport of Tarsus, which is now in modern day Turkey. As did many men of the time, he had two names. Saul was his Jewish name and Paul was his Roman name. Many men of the time had two names for they would use their Roman name when doing business as merchants or fisherman in the Roman Empire and their Hebrew name when they were with family or in synagogue.

At first, St. Paul, as a Pharisee, was a persecutor of the Early Church Christians and was present at the martyrdom of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian Church. On the road to Damascus, he saw a vision of Jesus asking him, “Why do you persecute me?” After recovering his sight, he was baptized as a Christian (Read Acts 9). Pope Benedict XVI says, “He realized that a new approach in his life was absolutely essential…Paul, therefore, no longer lives for himself, for his own justice. He lives for Christ and with Christ: in giving of himself, he is no longer seeking and building himself up” (The Apostles).

After his conversion, Paul was unique and qualified to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles. He is known as the “Apostle to the Gentiles.” As a child and young man in Tarsus, St. Paul received an excellent classical (Greek) education and in Jerusalem, under Rabbi Gamaliel, Paul received the best Jewish education. As a trade, he learned tent making. This helped him later on in life and supported his three missionary trips through Greece and Asia Minor.

When bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles, he was gifted first, because of his classical education; St. Paul had the great ability to speak to Romans and Greeks in ways they could understand. Second, he was well trained in philosophy and logic, which assisted in him in explaining the Christian doctrine more effectively. Third, his knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures was vast and this aided him when counter arguing points brought up by the Jewish leaders and elders. Lastly, his Roman citizenship, which he received at birth since his parents were freed under Mark Anthony, protected him from those who wanted to kill him.

Saint Paul died a martyrs’ death by being beheaded in the year 64 A.D. under the Roman Emperor, Nero. Since he was a Roman citizen, beheading was the main execution of death. Crucifixion was only for slaves and criminals that were not Roman citizens. He was beheaded along the Via Ostiense at Tre Fontane, outside the walls of Rome. It is believed that his remains are buried in the basilica that bears his name.

Some will argue that Saints Peter and Paul were at odds with one another and did not get along. However, if you carefully read Acts of the Apostles, you will find that’s hardly the case. Saints Peter and Paul preached the same Gospel message. St. Luke is saying that Peter and Paul are tight. Both of these men through the power of the Holy Spirit raised people from the dead. The apostles are not divided in their preaching. We see a clear continuity of doctrine between Saints Peter and Paul. The only thing that differs is the theme of redemptive suffering is different in Paul than in Peter. In Acts 14:22; St. Paul says that through tribulations we will enter the kingdom of God. The tribulations will be a means to our salvation. We walk in holiness through the cross.

As we continue in this Fortnight for Freedom, let us ask for the intercession of Saints Peter and Paul. These two great pillars whom so willingly offered their lives for Jesus Christ and his Church.

Saints Peter and Paul…Pray for Us!