Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

My Very Own St. Paul Moment

By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published February 26, 2009

I’ve always loved the image of St. Paul being knocked off his horse and blinded as the Lord Jesus called him to stop persecuting Christians.

It reminds me that sometimes, in my own life, it takes the blinding light of the obvious to shake me out of selfishness.

This lesson was brought home to me recently in a rather dramatic way. Oh, it was not as earth shattering as St. Paul and the horse, but it was my own moment of awakening as a lady facing a routine medical test.

Without going into great detail here, let’s just say the test involved fasting from solid foods the day before and taking a series of strong medications to … er … entirely clean out the system.

The test was scheduled for 6 a.m. at a nearby hospital, and my husband and I arose very early so we would not be a minute late. Believe me, there was one thing I wanted to avoid with every ounce of my being, which was being late and having to re-schedule the test, since this would entail another day of dining on nothing but lime Jell-o and beef broth.

At 5:30 a.m. Jef went outside to get the car warmed up a bit, reappearing a few moments later with the grim news.

“The battery is dead,” he said. “We’ll have to call a taxi.”

I raced to the phone and dialed a taxi service, but the dispatcher said there was no guarantee a driver would get to our house in time for me to make my appointment.

Nearly in tears, I hung up the phone. And at that very second the image of a friend’s face flashed through my consciousness.

“I’m going to call Chris,” I announced.

I hated the thought of awakening anyone at such an ungodly hour, but with trembling fingers, I dialed the number. His wife, Cathy, answered groggily and didn’t hesitate when I explained the dilemma.

“He’ll be right over,” she said.

And ten minutes later, he was.

It was then that I was knocked off my horse, so to speak. Because I realized that my husband and I had fallen into the very convenient habit of turning off the ringer on our phone at night, so we could sleep undisturbed until morning.

My own St. Paul moment occurred when I saw that what was convenient for us might be terribly burdensome to others. What if Cathy and Chris had let their phone machine pick up the calls at night, instead of answering them?

I thought about Jesus calling the disciples out of the boat as they were repairing their nets. It had to be very inconvenient and disruptive for them to leave their livelihood behind.

Christ doesn’t call us out of our boats today, nor does he take away people’s vision for a while until they can see clearly again.

But he still knocks some of us off our high horses.

I was right on time for the medical test that morning, and it turned out fine. Later, my husband and I realized we’d both arrived at the same obvious conclusion.

From now on, we won’t be silencing our phone at night.

Maybe we’ll get awakened now and again by a wrong number, but that’s all right. After all, when you get a call in the wee, dark hours, it could mean someone needs you right away.

Maybe it’s a desperate friend or neighbor who needs a ride. Maybe it’s a far-away relative calling with news. And of course there’s another possibility. It could be Jesus.

Lorraine Murray’s books are available at The Murrays are parishioners at St. Thomas More Church in Decatur. Readers may write them at