Saul, why do you persecute Me?

    St. Paul’s words, And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me…”-1 seems to be one of the best explanations of what Christianity is all about. Much has been written about the significance of Christianity and the meaning of Christianity. In these eleven words, I believe, St. Paul has succinctly described for us what Christian Living is.

Here is a man, who openly persecuted the Christians. “…And falling on the ground, he heard a voice saying to him: Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me? And he said: Who art thou, Lord? And he: I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest…”-2   He progressed from leading mobs to kill and suppress the Christian Way, to ultimately dying for Christian beliefs.  Somewhere, during that progression, he found the meaning of Christianity. He found the joy of being at peace, of being one with Christ.

Today, we speak of reflecting Christ in our lives, of letting Christ act through us. What we are addressing is no different than what Paul found during his life. If we go out and think to ourselves, “Now, what would Christ want me to do?” Or, again, “What good things can I do, that would make me feel more like a Christian.” Then, sadly, we have missed the point. Our intentions are noble, but this does not reflect Christ. This imitates an end result only. The substance, the reason is missing.

To reflect Christ, to be at one with Christ, we must forget ourselves. Our wants, our needs will be seen as they really are, trivial pursuits after nothing of substance . Our focus must only be on Christ. Know His Life, know why He came into our world. See the extent He truly loves us, forgives us, and loves us some more.  Our desires must see Jesus, be centered on Him. If we can do this, our joy, here on earth, will be such that we never could have anticipated how wonderful it could be.

Now, we, filled with this joy, filled with this love for Christ can see each other in a totally different light. Forgetting ourselves, our wants, our needs, the person beside us no longer is a threat to us, no longer can hurt us, is not someone to dislike. He is a person, like us, like Paul, searching for meaning, searching to be at one with Christ. He may not even realize he is searching for Christ. He may still be striving after his own wants and needs. But if we are centered on Jesus, then the joy that is within us, will emanate from us. Our words, our actions won’t be those of a person focused on ourself. They will be those that Christ would say and do. He can freely use us, to say and do what people need to hear and see. Then like Paul, we can say, “I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me.”

-1 Galatians, 2: 20

-2 Acts of the Apostles, 9: 4-5