THE SON IN ME — ACTS 22:3-16

“I now live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself up for me.”

Saul, what are you seeking
in hunting down the Lord’s beloved?
What are you afraid of
that you lash out in such violence?
Zeal for the law, you think,
and yet this zeal is,
as you will later say, ignorant.
But because you acted in ignorance
the Lord has mercy on you,
and, in you as in the foremost of sinners,
he manifests the immensity of his loving kindness.

God, our loving Father, teaches us in you,
Saul, something that is important for us all.
In you, in your own unique, unrepeatable path,
he speaks a word that echoes deeply
in our own unrepeatable uniqueness too.
For as you are struck to the ground
and hear the gentle words of Christ,
a mystery is unveiled before your eyes.
For a time you see nothing, blinded,
so as to forget the old way you used to see,
and, even more, to learn to see in spirit,
with the eyes of the inner heart.
But then your eyes re-open and, Paul,
you see the world transfigured in Christ’s light.

Yes, you yourself have expressed,
in words, however faltering,
the mystery that was revealed to you:
Christ in you, the hope of glory…
and elsewhere: It pleased God
to reveal his Son in me.
In me…Yes, Paul, in your very flesh
you discovered the living and suffering Son of God,
and felt burning inside your breast the fire of his glory.
It is thus that your name was changed,
no longer Saul, but Paul.

Why is this change?
Many often say it is a sign of a mission,
that you are given a new identity
in being given a new task.
Now, while certainly a new task is given,
I cannot grant that a mission gives identity.
Rather, you yourself, Paul, understood
the nature of this newness
in that blinding and eye-opening light:
God revealed his Son in you!
Yes, you came to know the dear Jesus
alive and loving you in your heart,
and, in turn, you encountered that love
which gave you the fullness of new life
and allowed you to live in him.
Here is your identity, within Jesus Christ,
in whom, from the beginning, you were made,
and whom, at the proper time, you recognized:
a beloved son within the Son—this is who you are.

Ah yes, this sets the course
for the rest of your life…and your eternity.
The Son of God, who loved me
and gave himself for me!
Now for you to live is Christ,
and death is but gain of eternal joy.
And at every moment, this is but the truth
that is your very life-blood, Paul:
to be the Father’ beloved one,
taken up by Christ, who loves you too,
so that, now and forevermore,
you and Jesus may abide, inseparable,
in the Father’s all-enveloping embrace.