Conversion of St. Paul
Genesis, Chapter 38, Verse 11
Then Judah said to his
daughter-in-law Tamar, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son
Shelah grows up”—for he FEARED that
Shelah also might die like his brothers. So, Tamar went to live in her father’s
Judah feared his youngest would die like his two brothers who married Tamar and failed to provide for her children from the marriage sending her back to her father; fearing she was cursed causing Judah’s two older son’s deaths. This sordid tale reads like a soap opera.
Tamar is first described as marrying Judah's eldest son, Er. Because of his wickedness, Er was killed by God. By way of a Levirate union, (a marriage in which the brother of a deceased man is obliged to marry his brother's widow) Judah asked his second son, Onan, to provide offspring for Tamar so that the family line might continue. Tikva Frymer-Kensky explains that this could have substantial economic repercussions, with any son born deemed the heir of the deceased Er, and able to claim the firstborn's double share of inheritance. However, if Er was childless, Onan would inherit as the oldest surviving son. Onan spills his seed out on the ground as an act of greed. His actions were deemed wicked by God and so, like his older brother, he died prematurely. At this point, Judah is portrayed as viewing Tamar to be cursed, and is therefore reluctant to give his remaining and youngest son to her. Rather, he told Tamar to wait for Shelah, his son to grow older. However, even after he grew up, Judah did not give Tamar to Shelah in marriage.
At the time Shelah grew up, Judah became a widower. After Judah mourned the death of his wife, he planned on going to Timnah to shear his sheep. Upon hearing this news, Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and immediately went to Enaim which was en route to Judah's destination. Upon arriving at Enaim, Judah saw the woman but did not recognize her as Tamar because of the veil she wore over her face. Thinking she was a prostitute; he requested her services. Tamar's plan was to become pregnant by this ruse in order to bear a child in Judah's line, because Judah had not given her to his son Shelah. So she played the part of a prostitute and struck a deal with Judah for a goat with a security deposit of his staff, seal, and cord. When Judah was able to have a goat sent to Enaim, in order to collect his staff and seal, the woman was nowhere to be found and no one knew of any prostitute in Enaim.
Three months later, Tamar was accused of prostitution on account of her pregnancy. Upon hearing this news, Judah ordered that she be burned to death. Tamar sent the staff, seal, and cord to Judah with a message declaring that the owner of these items was the man who had made her pregnant. Upon recognizing his security deposit, Judah released Tamar from her sentence. Tamar's place in the family and Judah's posterity secured, she gives birth to twins, Perez and Zerah. Their birth is reminiscent of the birth of Rebekah's twin sons. The midwife marks Zerah's hand with a scarlet cord when it emerges from the womb first, but Perez is born first. Perez is identified in the Book of Ruth as the ancestor of King David.
Whew! To Er is human but to love is divine. It is stuff like this that sometimes makes you want to go out into the desert and become a hermit.
St. Paul was born at Tarsus, Cilicia, of Jewish parents who were descended from the tribe of Benjamin. He was a Roman citizen from birth. To complete his schooling, St. Paul was sent to Jerusalem, where he sat at the feet of the learned Gamaliel and was educated in the strict observance of the ancestral Law. As a convinced and zealous Pharisee, he returned to Tarsus before the public life of Christ in Palestine.
Sometime after the death of Our Lord, St. Paul returned to Palestine. His profound conviction made his zeal develop to a religious fanaticism against the infant Church. He took part in the stoning of the first martyr, St. Stephen, and in the fierce persecution of the Christians that followed. Entrusted with a formal mission from the high priest, he departed for Damascus to arrest the Christians there and bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he was nearing Damascus, about noon, a light from heaven suddenly blazed round him. Jesus with His glorified body appeared to him and addressed him, turning him away from his apparently successful career. An immediate transformation was wrought in the soul of St. Paul. He was suddenly converted to the Christian Faith. He was baptized, changed his name from Saul to Paul, and began travelling and preaching the Faith. He was martyred as an Apostle in Rome around 65 AD.
What do we learn from this history?
Not to despise any sinner, nor to despair of his salvation: for, like Paul on the road to Damascus, the greatest sinner may, by the grace of God, be suddenly converted, and become a saint. At the command of God he accepted Ananias as his leader in the way of salvation, and became as zealous for the honor of Christ as he had previously been intent on persecuting Him. In like manner, a convert must shut his eyes to all by which he has heretofore been led astray and must give heed to that only which God commands.
Today try and be 100% for God.
As iron, cast into the fire, loses its rust and becomes bright with the flame, so too a man who turns his whole heart to Me is purified and all sluggishness and changed into a new man.
Who am I, Lord, that I should be considered by You: I AM WHO AM.
Like Paul we must be fearless in proclaiming the gospel.
“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to
every creature. Whoever believes and is
baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mk.
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Intercession: May each person suffering from the loss of a child through abortion find hope and healing in Christ.
Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Mary’s, Glory Be
more than four decades of legalized abortion, many children’s lives have been
ended, and many parents and family members suffer that loss—often in silence.
Yet God’s greatest desire is to forgive. No matter how far we have each strayed
from His side, He says to us, “Don’t be afraid. Draw close to my heart.” Be
assured that it is never too late to seek God's forgiveness in the Sacrament of
Acts of Reparation (Choose one.)
from meat today. If you are already abstaining from meat today, skip your
favorite snack, too.
the Chaplet of Divine Mercy (www.usccb.org/divine-mercy-chaplet) for those who are suffering the
loss of a child through abortion, asking that they find healing and peace.
· Offer some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for today’s intention.
Irish Coffee Day
1942 proved a fortuitous year for transatlantic travelers wearied by the cold and damp conditions of an Irish winter. Thanks to the innovative imagination of bartender Joe Sheridan, they were soon to have their cockles delightfully warmed by an almost decadent blend of fine Irish whiskey with the irresistible taste and aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Combined with the subtle sweetness of brown sugar and sipped through the luxurious density of whipped cream, it was a recipe that would become a global hit that needed no specific weather conditions to be enjoyed.
· Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels
· Monday: Litany of Humility