Celebriamo la vita vissuta

Conversione di San Paolo Apostolo – 25 gennaio

Conversione di San Paolo Apostolo

25 gennaio

La conversione di Paolo che siamo chiamati a celebrare e a vivere, esprime la potenza della grazia che sovrabbonda dove abbonda il peccato. La svolta decisiva della sua vita si compie sulla via di Damasco, dive egli scopre il mistero della passione di Cristo che si rinnova nelle sue membra. Egli stesso perseguitato per Cristo dirà: ‘Completo nella mia carne quello che manca ai patimenti di Cristo, a favore del suo corpo che è la Chiesa’. Questa celebrazione, già presente in Italia nel sec. VIII, entrò nel calendario Romano sul finire del sec. X. Conclude in modo significativo la settimana dell’unità dei cristiani, ricordando che non c’è vero ecumenismo senza conversione (cfr Conc. Vat. II, Decreto sull’ecumenismo ‘Unitatis redintegratio’, 7). (Mess. Rom.)

Martirologio Romano: Festa della Conversione di san Paolo Apostolo, al quale, mentre percorreva la via di Damasco spirando ancora minacce e stragi contro i discepoli del Signore, Gesù in persona si manifestò glorioso lungo la strada affinché, colmo di Spirito Santo, annunciasse il Vangelo della salvezza alle genti, patendo molto per il nome di Cristo.

La festa liturgica della “conversiti sancti Pauli”, che appare già nel VI secolo, è propria della Chiesa latina. Poiché il martirio dell’apostolo delle Genti viene commemorato a giugno, la celebrazione odierna offre l’opportunità di considerare da vicino la poliedrica figura dell’Apostolo per eccellenza, che scrisse di se stesso: “Io ho lavorato più di tutti gli altri apostoli”, ma anche: “io sono il minimo fra gli apostoli, un aborto, indegno anche d’essere chiamato apostolo”.

Adduce egli stesso le credenziali che gli garantiscono il buon diritto di essere considerato apostolo: egli ha visto il Signore, Cristo Risorto, ed è, perciò, testimone della risurrezione; egli pure è stato inviato direttamente da Cristo, come i Dodici: visione, vocazione, missione, tre requisiti che egli possiede, per i quali quel miracolo della grazia avvenuto sulla via di Damasco, dove Cristo lo costringe a una incondizionata capitolazione, sicché egli grida: “Signore, che vuoi che io faccia?”. Nelle parole di Cristo è rivelato il segreto della sua anima: “Ti è duro ricalcitrare contro il pungolo”. E’ vero che Saulo cercava “in tutte le sinagoghe di costringere i cristiani con minacce a bestemmiare”, ma egli lo faceva in buona fede e quando si agisce per amore di Dio, il malinteso non può durare a lungo. Affiora l’inquietudine, cioè “il pungolo” della grazia, il guizzo della luce di verità: “Chi sei tu, Signore?”; “Io sono Gesù che tu perseguiti”. Questa mistica irruzione di Cristo nella vita di Paolo è il crisma del suo apostolato e la scintilla che gli svelerà la mirabile verità della inscindibile unità di Cristo con i credenti.

Questa esperienza di Cristo alle porte di Damasco, che egli paragona con l’esperienza pasquale dei Dodici e con il fulgore della prima luce della creazione, sarà il “leit motiv” della sua predicazione orale e scritta. Le quattordici lettere che ci sono pervenute, ognuna delle quali mette a nudo la sua anima con rapide accensioni, ci fanno intravedere il miracolo della grazia operato sulla via di Damasco, incomprensibile per chi voglia cercarne una spiegazione puramente psicologica, ricorrendo magari all’estasi religiosa o, peggio, all’allucinazione.S. Paolo trarrà dalla sua esperienza questa consolante conclusione: “Gesù è venuto nel mondo per salvare i peccatori, dei quali io sono il primo. Appunto per questo ho trovato misericordia. In me specialmente ha voluto Gesù Cristo mostrare tutta la sua longanimità, affinché io sia di esempio per coloro che nella fede in Lui otterranno d’ora innanzi la vita eterna”.

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