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Lord, Have Mercy!

Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

My dear encountered couples:

There are many well-intentioned people in the world. You and I are well-intentioned. We overflow every day with good intentions, at least with what we think are good intentions. But in all truth, what makes any intentions good is that they are God’s intentions.

St. Paul, at that time called Saul, was well-intentioned. And he thought he had the best of intentions when he was running around gathering up Christians to throw in jail. If asked his motivation he probably would have said, “It is God’s will.” To Saul, when anybody lived otherwise than as prescribed by the Law of Moses, that person was a sinner. If it was a Jew not keeping the Law of Moses it was extra sinful, and that Jew must be punished and disciplined. That is what he was on his way to Damascus to do when, so to speak, he got knocked off his well-intentioned high horse. Jesus wanted to let him know that his intentions were not good ones, what he was doing was bad. It took a few days of physical blindness for Paul to see how mentally blind he had been.

It is very difficult for even the most prayerful of people to always know that what they do is God’s will. We all know of very religious Christians who think they have the vocation to persecute groups and individuals who do not match up to their ideas of virtue. With a kind smile on their faces, and with grandfatherly voices, they reach out and condemn others on national television, they send out mailings petitioning contributions to help with the spread of their values. Is Saul still alive and well-intentioned? We all must do what we believe is right but let us also with great humility allow for the possibility we are wrong.

When we go to sleep at night, let us close our eyes, take a good look at ourselves, and then, just to be on the safe side, from the depths of our hearts whisper in God’s ear, “Lord, have mercy!

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