To St. Paul / by Joseph Castorino

 

You watch with piercing pistol eyes as

  Stephen is brought before the Sanhedrin,

The leaders flog him with false witness,

  And revengefully rush at him;

They drag him outside the city,

  And lay their cloaks at your Pharisaical feet,

Then, with hellish hate, they hurl

  Spear-like stones that crush his body;

Horribly hideous thoughts float through

  The black ocean of your mind,

And you are obdurately obsessed with

  Driving Christianity into total oblivion;

You track and hunt down the Christians

  With dreadful determination,

You throw them into prison,

  Seeking to snuff out the sparks of the New Way.

 

On the dusty road to Damascus,

  You relish your recent conquest over the Christians,

You are smugly satisfied with your success

  Against those religious rebels;

But then there is a blinding flash,

  Infinitely brighter than a bolt of lightning,

Catapulted from your horse,

  You clumsily crash to the ground and collapse;

Then you unmistakably hear that familiar

  Gentle voice of Christ the Courageous,

He tenderly and mercifully asks,

  “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Suddenly you are struck blind,

  And you are entirely enveloped in darkness,

It appears as if God has blown out the sun,

  As if it were a giant candle in the sky.

 

Pondering and perturbed, you are praying quietly,

  In a home on Straight Street,

Lost in your thoughts, you rhythmically

  Stroke your black mustache and beard;

Your heavy heart weeps in dismay,

  As your brashness has led to your bitter blindness,

Now the hero who was persecuting the rebels

  Is himself converting into a rebel;

Scattered at your feet are the shattered

  Pieces of your old way of life,

A day ago those puzzle pieces all fit together,

  Like the pillars in Solomon’s Portico;

But now a key piece of the puzzle is missing:

  The messianic centerpiece,

You repentantly fast and pray,

  As Ananias approaches with the missing piece.

 

Gazing at the Circus Maximus, you know

  That your time in this world is very short,

As you reflect back upon your life,

  You realize how much you’ve changed;

Through the limitless love of the Lord,

  You have become a very humble man,

And through the Prince of Peace,

  You are filled with the fruits of the Spirit;

After so many years, you long to

  Give the kiss of peace to the saintly Stephen,

You hunger and thirst to embrace your

  Magnificent Messiah, Jesus the Just;

The sun sets in Rome’s crimson sky,

  Surrounded by clusters of woolly clouds,

This flock of lambs is ready to follow

  The shepherd-sun down into Vatican Hill.