Special request: Prayer for a generous spirit and unity of heart.
St. Paul, while on earth you were forced to say goodbye to those you loved. Now you live in the kingdom where love is the only reality and you have no more tears to shed. We ask you to be lovingly united to us who are in the midst of the battle for salvation in a world filled with personal sin, vice and social injustice. We need your strength and wisdom to guide us and we are confident that you will continually intercede for us so that our great pilgrimage on earth may be successfully concluded one day before the throne of God. Help the Church today to be united in spirit and affection. May we who worship together live in harmony and recognize, as you did, that everyone has unique roles to play in building up the kingdom of God on earth. May our parishes, dioceses, religious communities, and the universal Church be united in heart as well as doctrine so that the non-believers will say, “See how they love one another.” In your life you faced conflicts, disagreements and misunderstandings with your fellow saints here on Earth. Now all of you are worshiping together before the throne of God. Help us, see the goodness and grace that fills the believers around us and teach us to reverence one another so that we will truly be prepared to live with one another in eternity. St. Paul, you who now contemplate the face of God, Father, Son and Spirit, teach us to see that face reflected in our fellow human beings who were created in God’s image and likeness. Help us see beyond the disfigurement caused by sin and with the eyes of faith see in those around us and ourselves the handiwork of God. St. Paul you were a great sinner but the blinding, eye opening light of Jesus transformed you into a great saint. Intercede for us so that we too may become the children of God we are truly called to be. May God the Father see and love in us what he sees and loves in his Son and may we be filled with the Holy Spirit that transforms us into one body on earth. Amen.
In Luke’s Acts of the Apostles we clearly see how much the Christian community loved Paul and how deep his affection was for people Luke the beloved physician captures this reality in the farewell passage at Miletus:
Acts 20:31 “So stay awake; remember that for three years, both day and night, I didn’t cease exhorting each one of you with tears. And now I commend you to God and His word of grace which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all His holy ones. …. In every possible way I have shown you that we must help the weak by working hard like this, mindful of the word of the Lord Jesus Himself, ‘It’s more blessed to give then to receive.’
After saying this he got on his knees and prayed with them all. They all wept a great deal and embraced Paul and kissed him because they were especially pained by what he said about never seeing his face again.”