Messenger of Mercy: A Retreat Guide on St. Paul

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In today’s world, the word “mercy” has implications of weakness. Hollywood heroes tend to destroy their enemies, not forgive them. Sports teams glory in crushing their opponents, not giving them a second chance. That’s the world we live in—a world whose popular culture has forgotten most of its Christian roots.

But the real meaning of mercy, from Christ’s perspective, is connected with spiritual strength, not weakness. Here is how a prayer from the liturgy puts it:

“O God, who manifest your almighty power above all by pardoning and showing mercy…” (Collect for 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Mercy, in fact, is the spiritual power that redeems the world. And a good way to learn how to unleash that power in our own spiritual lives is to reflect on the example of one of history’s greatest messengers of God’s mercy, St. Paul.

That’s what this Retreat Guide, Messenger of Mercy, will do:

  • The First Meditation will explore St. Paul’s life-changing experience of Christ’s mercy.
  • The Second Meditation will explore how St. Paul made that mercy the core of his own missionary message.
  • And in the Conference, we will see that welcoming God’s mercy is the secret to turning our painful failures into glorious successes.

To begin, let’s take a few moments, in the silence of our hearts, to turn towards the Lord and ask him for all the graces that we need right now. Most especially, let’s ask him for the grace of a fresh experience of his mercy, and for the inspiration to become, like St. Paul, courageous messengers of Christ’s mercy to our needy, hurting world.


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First Meditation


Second Meditation




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  1. I’ve been wanting to focus on St. Paul and learn more, as well as honor the Sabbath. This was perfect; so well laid out and the accompanying scriptures and contemplative questions are impactful. Thank you Father Bartunek! I’ll be praying for you and your ministry.

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