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Increase Our Faith
Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle
He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents [with their hands], and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Jesus, please increase my faith so that I can more fully trust in you. Help me to receive your Word with a believing heart.
- Faith and Mission: This reading is from the very end of the Gospel of Mark. The crucified Jesus had been resurrected. Although he had appeared to Saint Mary Magdalene and others, most of his followers did not believe what they had heard (Mark 16:14). After Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith, he gave the eleven apostles their mission, which required an abundance of faith. He demanded that they not only believe that he had arisen, but proclaim it to every creature. We continue the mission that Christ gave his apostles when we do our part to spread the joy of the Gospel. We can ask ourselves how we witness to Christ through our words and actions.
- Christ within Us: Jesus Christ, the third person of the Trinity, is all-powerful: “For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily, and you share in this fullness in him, who is the head of every principality and power” (Colossians 2:9-10). Indeed, through the Holy Spirit, we share in Christ’s power. Those who believe in him can do great works, not by their own power, but through Christ who dwells within them (Romans 8:10). Through Christ, we are empowered to work alongside him in his saving mission. Bringing Christ to the people whom God has placed in our paths can bring them healing, hope, and salvation.
- Saint Paul’s Encounter: Saint Paul’s life changed forever after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Indeed, the whole world was changed after his conversion. Because he accepted the apostles’ mission to “proclaim Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23), Christ’s saving mission extended to the far corners of the world. All this stemmed from just one encounter with Christ. If we feel hesitant about our own role in the new evangelization, we can pray to ask Saint Paul to intercede for us. We can ask God to give us the gift of increased faith and courage to proclaim the Gospel to our friends and neighbors. May our prayerful encounters with Christ strengthen us in our efforts to bring others to encounter Christ through us.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, I want to work alongside you in your saving mission. Please help me to bring you to the people I meet today, be it with a smile, a listening ear, a kind word, or a thoughtful gesture. Help me speak about you and the goodness you have done for me. When people encounter me, help them to have an encounter with you and your perfect love.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace, I will find an opportunity to speak to someone about how God has been good to me.
For Further Reflection: The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops has a collection of wonderful resources to help you learn more about the New Evangelization, which you can check out here: USCCB New Evangelization.
Carey Boyzuck is a wife, mother, freelance writer, and a new lay member of Regnum Christi. She blogs at www.word-life-light.com.