Conversion of St. Paul: January 25th
When the Jewish Pharisee Saul set out from Jerusalem to Damascus, his aim was to persecute the fledgling Christian community. The dramatic story of St. Paul’s miraculous conversion is told several times in the Acts of the Apostles and New Testament letters. Paul became the apostle to the Gentiles and carried Christ’s message around the Roman Empire. He also shares a feast day with St. Peter on June 29. The January feast was known as the “translation” of St. Paul in the martyrology of St. Jerome; it may originally have commemorated the moving of Paul’s relics. Now, it appropriately closes the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Paul is the patron saint of Greece, Malta, and the Cursillo movement.
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
The theme for the 2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, "Your Right Hand, O Lord, Glorious in Power," is taken from the book of Exodus 15:6.
Throughout the Biblical narrative of salvation, an unmistakable motif is the unrelenting determination of the Lord to form a people whom He could call His own. The formation of such a people, united in a sacred covenant with God, is integral to the Lord's plan of salvation and to the glorification of His name. The prophets repeatedly remind Israel that their covenant demanded that relationships among its various social groups should be characterized by justice, compassion and mercy. Reconciliation often demands repentance, reparation and healing of memories.
As Jesus prepared to seal the new covenant in His own blood, His earnest prayer to the Father was that those given to Him by the Father would be one, just as He and the Father were one. When Christians discover their unity in Jesus, they participate in Christ's glorification in the presence of the Father, with the same glory that He had lived in the Father's presence before the world existed. Therefore, God's covenanted people must always strive to be a reconciled community that serves as an effective sign of how to live in justice and peace for all the people of the earth.
Today, the Bible continues to be a source of consolation and liberation, inspiring Christians to address the conditions that currently undermine the Body of Christ. The Church, like Israel, is called to be a sign and an active agent of reconciliation.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity began as an eight day period of prayer called the Church Unity Octave here at Graymoor established by founders of the Society of the Atonement, Mother Lurana White, SA, and Servant of God Father Paul of Graymoor. Fr. Tom Orians, SA, Associate Director of Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute (GEII) emphasizes its importance explaining, "As Christians pray and work together in seeking to bring about Christian Unity one discovers just how important this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is for our world today."