Homily by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganòon the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle
The Conversion of Saint Paul is a conquest of Saint Stephen, and it is no coincidence that the divine Liturgy places this feast a few days after that of the Protomartyr, whom the Jew Saul, loyal to the Ancient Law and faithful executor of the will of the High Priests, saw martyred before his eyes and perhaps martyred himself, believing he was performing an action in conformity with the precepts observed by every orthodox Jew. Abbot Guéranger comments: To complete the court of our great King, it was right that the two powerful columns of the Church should be raised on either side of the manger, the Apostle of the Jews and the Apostle of the Gentiles: Peter with the keys and Paul with the sword. Thus Saul, from an observant Jew and persecutor of Christians, becomes Paul, conqueror of the pagans to the Gospel.
Today the power of Christ overthrows His enemy, and His mercy lifts him up making him a champion of the Faith and the companion of the Prince of the Apostles, together with whom he will shed his blood in the City: O Roma felix, quæ duorum Principum es consecrata glorioso sanguine , we sing in the hymn Decora lux . Happy Rome, consecrated by the glorious blood of the two Princes! A blood that is glorious because from it, shed for the love of Christ, does not derive death but life, not defeat but victory, not the ignominy of torture but the glory of the palm of martyrdom.
When the Pastors obeyed God and did not pursue the deceptions of this world, from the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter in Rome to that of the Conversion of Saint Paul, the Octave of prayer was held for the conversion of non-Catholics, schismatics, heretics and pagans . The new church, along the lines of Vatican II, has renounced its mission and seeks to hide what separates us from sects and idolaters, emphasizing what they believe unites us. And that moment of prayer became the “Week for Christian Unity”, putting the purposes of an insane ecumenism before the supernatural mission of preaching the true Faith. So I invite you to pray for the clerics and prelates who persecute good Catholics, and for those like Saul who believe they are observing the precepts of the law while they are in error.
Don’t be surprised by this parallel: the veil of the temple that was torn lengthwise at the moment of the Savior’s death on the Cross put an end to the old Covenant, making the Church of Christ the new Israel, and the baptized the new chosen people. This new and eternal Covenant, sealed in the Blood of the Lamb which represented the sacrifices of the Temple, welcomed many sons of the Synagogue, enlightened by the messianic prophecies and confirmed by the Lord’s miracles: among them there were many who, like Saul, obeyed the Read until they were touched by the Grace that showed them the fulfillment of the Scriptures in Jesus Christ. And while the blindness of perfidy did not let the Light come into the world be seen and rejected it; while the Sanhedrin conspired with Pilate in fear of seeing their power compromised and hid from the simple the truths kept in the scrolls of Isaiah and the holy Prophets; while Saul tried in all the synagogues to force Christians with threats to blaspheme (Acts 26, 11), that is to deny the divinity of Christ and His coming as the promised Messiah, the great miracle of conversion was being prepared: instantaneous, immediate, lightning-fast like all things pertaining to God.
The journey of conversion is sometimes arduous and long, fraught with difficulties and falls; but the conversion itself takes place with the strength and power of which the Lord is capable, when he touches us with the light of Truth and with the fire of Charity. Who are you, Lord? , asks Saul, thrown from his horse; I am Jesus, whom you persecute (Acts 9:5). In the dazzling light in which Christ’s voice resounds, one of the most feared inquisitors of the Temple recognizes the miracle, understands its divine Artificer, addresses Him calling him “Lord”, obeys the order to go to Damascus. He remains dazzled and blind for three days, and for three days he fasts, in mystical preparation for the epiphany of Christ.
READ ON BELOW…Viganò. Omelia nella Festa della Conversione di San Paolo Apostolo. : STILUM CURIAE