In each version from the Acts of the Apostles recounting the conversion of St. Paul, the Lord says, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And then, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” So Christ identified himself with his disciples.
Saul was a witness to the death of Stephen, a willing participant. It was a dramatic event, reminiscent of Jesus’ death. Stephen, “was dragged out of the city” where they began stoning him. He saw a vision of Jesus at the right hand of the Father, and before he died he called out, “Lord, Jesus receive my spirit.” At his death Jesus had made the same prayer to his father.
The vision of Stephen’s death and its similarity to Christ’s death must have had a long lasting, influential affect on Paul. Dare we suggest it played a significant role in his conversion process? Can it be the source of Paul’s doctrine of the Mystical Body of which Christ is the head, we the members?
How familiar am I with the doctrine of the Mystical Body? How can I improve my knowledge, my devotion to it? How can I better receive and understand the word of God? St. Paul, pray for me and for all the members of Christ’s body, the Church.