A Meditation for the Monthly Meeting of the Bethlehem Curia of the Legion of Mary
To mark the 2000th anniversary of the apostle St. Paul’s birth, our well-loved pope Benedict has decided to celebrate the “Year of St. Paul,” starting next June 28th, 2008. An extensive quotation from a catechesis of his, given in Octuber, 2006, is a fitting introduction to this great opportunity we all share:
[Early in his life, Paul] went to Jerusalem to study the roots of Mosaic Law in the footsteps of the great Rabbi Gamaliele (cf. Acts 22: 3). He also learned a manual and common trade, tent making (cf. Acts 18: 3), which later permitted him to provide personally for his own support without being a weight on the Churches (cf. Acts 20: 34; I Cor 4: 12; II Cor 12: 13).
It was decisive for him to know the community of those who called themselves disciples of Jesus. Through them he came to know a new faith – a new “way”, as it was called – that places not so much the Law of God at the centre but rather the person of Jesus, Crucified and Risen, to whom was now linked the remission of sins. As a zealous Jew, he held this message unacceptable, even scandalous, and he therefore felt the duty to persecute the followers of Christ even outside of Jerusalem.