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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis explains what Christians can learn from the conversion of St. Paul

During his General Audience, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on apostolic zeal, this time focusing on St. Paul's conversion. The Pope explained that he went from wanting to destroy the Church to embracing the Gospel because he had an encounter with God. 

Pope Francis emphasized that apostolic zeal does not depend on a person's education but on their relationship with Christ.


Dear brothers and sisters:

In our continuing catechesis on apostolic zeal, we now consider some of the great men and women in the history of the Church whose lives exemplify love for Christ and passion for the spread of the Gospel.

We begin, naturally, with the Apostle Paul. Paul’s encounter with the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus transformed his zeal for the Law, which had led him to persecute Christians, into a consuming desire to proclaim the Gospel of God’s loving mercy, revealed in the paschal mystery. Paul’s conversion was truly a profound experience of death and resurrection; reborn in Christ, he became a “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17), now filled with zeal to carry the good news of our salvation to all the nations.

Paul’s example shows us that at the heart of all missionary zeal is a living encounter with the risen Lord. It also shows us that zeal for the Gospel can never justify violence or persecution in the name of the God of mercy, who invites us freely to accept his gift of new life by believing in the Gospel of Jesus his Son.