The Scriptures are filled with miracles, stories of great deeds being done for Israel and the early followers of Christ. Miracles in the Bible can be said to fit into two categories: ones everyone talks about, and ones no one’s thought about. Sure, everyone knows the parting of the Red Sea, the water to wine, and the virgin birth; but how much time do we spend discussing the teaching of St. Paul?
To understand this truly bizarre miracle we first need to understand who St. Paul is, in retrospect. St. Paul’s writings form the basis of the Church’s understanding of the Gospels, as well as being fundamental to any understanding of the Church as an organization and the Body of Christ. In fact it is from St. Paul that we learn about the Church’s status as the Body of Christ. Of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, thirteen of them are attributed to St. Paul, just shy of half. Thus, it is easy to see that St. Paul is one of the most important figures in Christianity, and the most influential preacher of the message of Jesus Christ.
So what? He’s smart and wrote a lot about the teachings of Christ, that’s not much of a miracle.
If we hope to understand this miracle we should consider St. Paul’s life. As I’m sure everyone knows, St. Paul was born Saul in Tarsus, he was a pious Jew and a persecutor of the Church. On his way to Damascus he had a vision of Christ, was thrown from his horse and then went blind. This is a story that most people know fairly well, but what’s often forgotten is what happens afterwords. After leaving Damascus, St. Paul travels to Arabia and stays there for three years. Then he finally goes to Jerusalem and meets with the Apostles, Sts. Peter and James, but only for fifteen days, without a doubt, not enough time for someone to learn the entirety of the teachings of Christ, especially since Sts. Peter and Paul didn’t particularly like each other. So how did St. Paul learn the teachings of so Christ so intimately?
This is the miracle of St. Paul, that he had almost no contact with the Apostles and yet taught the truth of Christ beautifully and with so much zeal that he became known as perhaps the greatest of all the Apostles. This curious miracle of St. Paul is also a curious mystery of the Church; that the teachings of Jesus Christ are so well guarded and spread by the Holy Spirit.