S e n t i r e C u m E c c l e s i a

"To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What seems to me to be white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls..." - Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius [365]

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Year of St. Paul

Tomorrow, we celebrate the twin Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles of Jesus Christ. The holy Father Benedict XVI will officially launch the Pauline Year tonight (June 28) through First Vespers at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the Walls. For us here in the Archdiocese of Zamboanga, we will launch the Pauline Year tomorrow, the day of the Solemnity with the Liturgy presided by our Archbishop, Msgr. Romulo Valles, at the Metropolitan Cathedral.

St. Paul is a key figure of Christianity. The Faith spread tremendously, I would dare say, through the efforts of St. Paul. Who is St. Paul then? What can we learn from him?

St. Paul, formerly known as Saul, was a member of the pharisees and was instrumental in the persecution of the early Church. But through God's grace and the call of Jesus Christ, he was converted and became the apostle of the person he used to abhor. He then preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to many lands, ending at Rome where he was beheaded.

St. Paul was a man of OPENNESS. He was open to the call of Christ even if the call meant a 180 degrees turn. He "left" his former life and self to become a new man for Jesus Christ.

St. Paul was a man of PASSION and GREAT DESIRES. He only had one big passion in his life -- Jesus Christ. He was so filled with this passion that even if it will cause him harm and trouble, he still pursued it: "Only this I want, but to know the Lord... and to bear His Cross so to wear the crown He wore." He was one of great desires that he allowed his heart's truest desire to dictate the consequences of his life.

St. Paul was a man of FORTITUDE. He bore all the trials and pains, persecutions beside, just to stand up for the person he so loved -- Jesus Christ. He gave up his earthly life for the eternal life that awaits him in Christ.

As we celebrate the Year of St. Paul, we pray that like him, we may be persons of OPENNESS to God's movements in our lives. That we, too, may be men and women of PASSION and GREAT DESIRES. May we truly go for what we really want in life -- union with God. And that we may be a people of FORTITUDE, that we stand for the Faith no matter what. The Church needs more "Saint Pauls" in her ranks; the Church needs US!


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