Saint Paul: The Thirteenth Apostle
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Saul was a Jew, born in Tarsus and brought up in Jerusalem. As a young man, he was very zealous for the Jewish law and traditions. He thought that the Christian way of life was something opposed to God and his law. Because of this, Saul persecuted the Christians with all his might. One day, Saul headed for Damascus with some men. He had permission to capture any Christians he could find in the city and bring them back to Jerusalem to be imprisoned and punished. Just before he got to the city, a bright light flashed around him and he fell to the ground. A voice called to him, "Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?" Jesus told Saul to go to Damascus, where he would find out what he should do. At that moment, through the power of God, Saul received the gift to believe in Jesus. Ananias told Saul that God had chosen him to tell many people in many lands about Jesus. Saul was baptized, and started to live the life of a Christian. He used his Roman name, Paul, from then on because he had been chosen by God to go to the people who were not Jewish and tell them about Jesus. St. Paul traveled all over the world, preaching the Good News. He led countless people to Jesus. He worked and suffered. His enemies tried to kill him several times, but nothing could stop him. When Paul was old and tired, he was once again put in prison and sentenced to die. Still St. Paul was happy to suffer and even die for Christ.
The story of St. Paul is foundational to Christianity. It fills the greater part of the Acts of the Apostles, and his letters are read in Mass on most Sundays. Those who read St. Paul: The Thirteenth Apostle will have a better grasp of the story of Christianity. Anyone who reads the Apostle's life can't help but be attracted to the urgency Paul felt in giving his life to Jesus and sharing God's love with others.