Last Thursday, we hosted an introduction to St. Paul led by our very own Sister Hosea Rupprecht. She did a marvelous job of familiarizing participants with the complex figure of Paul and his letters. She’ll continue to offer this introduction to St. Paul around the archdiocese of Toronto as she is asked.
The heart of her presentation was that for Paul, Christ is the center, the focal point, both of Paul’s life and of the universe. Paul’s passion for Jesus led him to proclaim Christ and the Gospel very creatively, in ways relevant to his time.
Our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, wrote of Paul: “For Saint Paul, holiness is the fullness of human maturity; the holy person is the perfect person…. The saint is not self-centered, but reaches out. He or she does not come to a standstill; rather, the motto is growth and progress. Holiness is life, movement, nobility, and effervescence.”
Isn’t “effervescence” a great way to describe how our relationship with Christ overflows into our day, our work, into every aspect of our lives? For those of us whose lives and work revolve around communicating, Paul is the perfect patron. (Do you know he is also the patron of those who have been bitten by snakes, hospital public relations, as well as writers of all kinds, etc.?) Some time ago, I wrote a prayer asking Paul to gift my speaking and writing with some of his own tremendous energy and creativity. I prayed it often, including today as I started to write. (Pardon the length–I love Saint Paul!)
To Saint Paul, Communicator for Christ
It was impossible for you to stay silent about his great love for you
and for all humanity;
you could not keep
the Good News to yourself.
You preached in places
new and familiar, whether
you felt welcome or not;
you wrote letters filled
with the Spirit and inventive phrases
to try to capture the inexplicable mystery of Christ Jesus;
sending them off to others
in the hope of igniting in them
that same unquenchable awe and joy.
We too try to share with the world
the unfathomable love of Christ,
but our words seem poor and insufficient, our efforts deficient,
and our faith weak.
We are not always certain what to say,
what needs to be heard.
What we hold inside seems incommunicable, inexpressible.
Help us to listen to the whisper
of the Master in our hearts,
to the anguished cries of our brothers and sisters.
Inspire us with the same fire that burned in your heart
so that every act of communication
will shine like a crystal that allows
the Master’s glorious truth to pierce all blindness,
his profound goodness to draw all hearts,
his breath-catching beauty to break through all resistance.
Give us courage to risk, faith to entrust to the Master
every word and action, love to persevere,
openness to follow the Spirit’s lead,
until those whom God wants to touch
through our poor words and images
are blessed, held, transformed in his grace. Amen.