Friday, July 25, 2008

What St. Paul Saw, after the Other Apostles, is Revealed to All in Our Time

St. Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles, is also the apostle of the resurrection.

Despite every form of persecution directed against him, he continued to preach the resurrection to Jew and Gentile alike. "With respect to the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you this day" (Acts 24:21)

In addition to having had the the risen Christ appear to him on the road to Damascus, I think it almost certain that St. Paul also had the experience of seeing the cloth of marine byssus which this day is present in Manoppello, and likely from the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary herself.

I also think that seeing the multiple, amazing and dazzling images of Christ on this cloth had a profound influence on St. Paul's magnificent teaching on the Church as the Body of Christ and made the resurrection of Christ, as well as our future resurrection, an ever present reality to his mind and spirit.

From the letter of St. Paul to the Romans, chapter 6, verses 3 to 11

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Thanks to my friend Paul Badde, the most generous German journalist and author, for allowing me to post these photographs. May his patron St. Paul continue to intercede so that the Holy Spirit might give him a full measure of wisdom and strength to continue his service to the faith.

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