Michael Daly CJ Blog

A Companion of Jesus

Unity One Day…..?

On the 25th of January I enjoyed listening to Kieran Conry, the  Roman Cathlic Bishop of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton in the UK, speak on the conversion of St Paul at a Methodist Church, to a gathering of many denominations in Bexhill-on-Sea.  Bishop Conry drew his thoughts from a painting of the Conversion of St Paul by the artist Caravaggio. For Paul and for us, conversion meant not just meeting Christ, it also involved the throwing off and letting go of the old life and so much of what we have clung to in the past no matter how great or good it may have seemed… In the painting Caravaggio has Paul fallen and although this happened during the day, Caravaggio depicts it in the dark of a night. In the picture a servant  leads  the horse which Paul once rode in triumph but from which he had fallen, past Paul who is on the floor and caught up in the light and call of Christ. Paul’s conversion meant he had to let go of all he had held so dear.  Bishop Conry’s point was that all of us who have been converted to Christ,  still have much to let go of.

For Paul the Jewish zealot and persecutor of Christians it must have been a terrible wrench. Once he was so right…now… he finds he was so wrong!  Once he thought he could see…now.. he finds himself to be pitifully blind!

Unity for me will only be fully recognised when our eyes are opened by the grace of God and we learn to love one another as Jesus has loved us….and that will mean letting go of the notion that I am right and you are wrong, whether spoken or unspoken. True Unity between Roman Catholic and Protestant will come when the Roman Catholic Church sees that there is no such thing as “Separated Brethren” in the Church of God and that the Eucharist is (as they rightly say),  truly ‘the sign of Unity’;  but not just for those whose theology and practice is in agreement with Roman Catholic teaching, but for all who are in Christ.  It will come when Protestants instead of pointing the finger of accusation at Catholicism, for errors and atrocities in past history, (which protestants too are guilty of), embraces Roman Catholics in the bond of love and peace.  It will happen when we stop seeking uniformity in how, when or where we worship and it will happen when men stop lording it over others as the institutional Church has done for far too long, both Catholic and Protestant.  It will come about when all who are in Christ realise that Our Lord Jesus is building His Church, with all the messiness of a broken yet redeemed people who are saved by the grace and mercy of God.

The Conversion Of St Paul
By Caravaggio.
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February 6, 2011 - Posted by | Thoughts

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