Heidi Hess Saxton
There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias.”
He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”
The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.”
Today is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, whose story (like mine) gives witness to the unrelenting mercy of God, the “Hound of Heaven.” In the immortal words of Francis Thompson:
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped …
You can read the whole thing here, if you want to see how it ends.
It took God nearly 30 years to get me to the point that I stopped running PAST the Church and started going inside. At first I was a reluctant visitor, looking both ways to make sure no one spotted me before dashing inside to sit at the back of this mission-style church, Holy Family Parish in South Pasadena, California (pictured above). But God was relentless, and at the Vigil of 1994 I finally surrendered to the truth and beauty I had found there. And yet, this was simply the first step in a lifelong journey of surrendering my will, my ideas, my imagination — offering them up so that God might purify and renew them for my good and his glory. I’ve never regretted it.
Is there someone in your life for whom you have been praying endlessly, who needs to surrender to grace? Are YOU in need of a bit of surrender or conversion in your own life? Join me in praying today for those wandering Damascus Road, that they might see with new eyes the Light.
About the Author
Heidi Hess Saxton is a Catholic wife and adoptive mother of two teenagers, and author of Advent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta and Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Servant). This year she spent Christmas with her elderly parents and sisters, who gathered in Georgia to spend one more Christmas baking cookies with their mom, who is ready to go meet Jesus. She would appreciate your prayers.