Each year the church celebrates the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, remembered for his dramatic conversion documented in The Acts of The Apostles.
As a young man, Paul led the persecution of Christians. He was a staunch Pharisee who didn’t want Judaism torn apart by the “new sect” of Christ followers. On the road to Damascus Paul met Jesus Christ directly and personally, and the encounter changed his life forever. He was baptized as a Christ follower and began his mission to the Gentiles, preaching about the Lord and converting many.
For most of us, conversion doesn’t happen as dramatically as it did with Paul; it fact, it is more of an ongoing process. We experience Christ in our daily lives, and in small ways we begin to see our world differently than before.
Cross Catholic Outreach wants to be a catalyst for seeing our world differently. We believe people are changed when they see reality through the eyes of the poorest of the poor whom we serve. Knowing their hardships and suffering changes are perspective on poverty and grows our compassion for people in need.
As an Outreach Priest for Cross, I bring these stories of the poor into the parishes of America. I share both the beauty of the poor and their needs. These are life changing experiences. The plight of the poor cannot be ignored once you know them as people and understand their daily realities.
I encourage you to make room for the poor in your life. Take time to educate yourself about their struggles and hardships. Draw from their faith and be moved by their perseverance. Then, share your resources with them. Help alleviate their suffering. I’m convinced conversion will happen in our lives when we see the suffering Christ in them.
As we walk the road to the Kingdom, may our conversion continue, and may the poor reap benefits from our seeing the world in a different light!
-Fr. Ron Mrozinski