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.

“Mondays with Mary” – 10 Scripture passages from St. Luke’s Infancy Narrative that have influenced my Prayer life

Since tomorrow, October 18, is the feast for Saint Luke the Evangelist, I figured that I would draw from his own Infancy Narrative. The entire Infancy Narrative in St. Luke’s Gospel is beautiful, since it’s the Word of God and it’s the story and aftermath of the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, but ever since I studied Mariology at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, there are certain passages that move my heart either in prayer or during the Marian Solemnities in the liturgical cycle.

I can remember a time in graduate school sitting next to one of my fellow students in the Christ the King Chapel during Mass on the Immaculate Conception. When Mary’s Fiat was read during the Gospel Reading, we looked at each other and were brought to tears since our understanding of that scripture passage had drastically changed and we understood it differently than before. I remember thinking to myself that my relationship with Christ was strengthened because I now knew his Mother in a way I didn’t previously.

So for today’s “Mondays with Mary”, which happens to also be my 700th blog post, I give you 10 scripture passages from Saint Luke’s Infancy Narrative that have and continue to touch my heart. It’s fitting that the 700th post is a “Mondays with Mary”, since I have written for nearly 4 ½ years on the Blessed Virgin Mary. The translation of the scripture passages come the Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.

1. “And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.’ And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus” (Lk 1:28-31)

2. “And Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I have no husband?’” (Lk 1: 34)

3. “And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word’” (Lk 1:38). [This was the aforementioned passage that brought me to tears when in graduate school]

4. “In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth” (Lk 1:39-40).

5. “’Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:42-43) [Even as I write this to you today, my heart is penetrated with the words of St. Elizabeth, and think that these words could come from my lips.]

immaculate-heart-of-mary-vienna-austria

The Magnificat, which I have written about here

6. “’My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him
from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm,
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever’” (Lk 1:46-56).

7. “And Joseph also went from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary his betrothed, who was with child” (Lk 2:4-5).

8. “And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manager, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Lk 2:7).

9. “But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Lk 2:19).

10. “…And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed’” (Lk 2:34-35).

I would encourage you to read or reread the Infancy Narrative in the Gospel of Saint Luke. I would also encourage you to include meditating on these passages this week during your daily prayer time.

For more information pertaining to the Infancy Narratives, I would suggest reading Pope Benedict XVI’s book, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives.

Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God and Ever-Virgin…Pray for Us.

700th Blog Post