Galatians 1:15-18 relates St. Paul saying: “But when God, who had set me apart from the time when I was in my mother’s womb, called me through His grace and chose to reveal His Son in me, so that I should preach Him to the Gentiles, I was in no hurry to confer with any human being, or to go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before me. Instead I went off into Arabia, and later I came back to Damascus. Only after three years did I go up to Jerusalem to meet Cephas (Peter). I stayed fifteen days with him.”
St. Paul’s wanderings were not without profit. Galatians, being the first Epistle after Luke’s Acts of the Apostles, relates Paul’s working through how his life had changed since his theophany of Jesus Christ. It relates his plan for spreading the Good News, debating issues of Jewish Law, and invoking all to live in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Time undoubtedly was spent praying about how the Lord was working in his life, what the Lord was requesting of him, future plans, settling up business affairs in Damascus, and other large and small personal issues.
We all go through periods similar to those just described by St. Paul. So has it been for me. No theophany was experienced (!) but personal and medical issues have had their affect. The lessons learned echoes what is read in the first chapter of Galatians. I am better for it. For all types of adversities are allowed by the Lord, not because He wants us to suffer, but “to burnish us,” to make us shine with the virtues of fortitude, humility, and patient endurance. As the Saint says: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit…”
I see from the subscription list that this blog site has not lost any subscribers, in fact over the last two years of inactivity it has increased in membership. Thank you! I have plans for new posts for the upcoming months, specifically a series on the spirituality and virtues of Beato Fra Angelico and how they influenced his art. Are the virtues of a 15th century Italian Dominican priest transferable to us? I believe so, because, in reality, they are based on the Beatitudes that all Christians, regardless of Rite or denomination, hold dear.
May the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Thanks, talk to you soon.The above sacred image is an unfinished copy of St. Paul based on St. Andrei Rublev’s masterpiece. It is being painted by Deacon Paul O. Iacono. It is egg tempera on a gessoed wood panel.
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5 thoughts on “Paul in Arabia and Damascus”
Paul, I was happy to see your Fra Angelico site in my mailbox. It was just the other day I mentioned to Pat that you had not written it in a long time. Was it really two years?! I am also happy to see that you have not stopped painting icons. They are beautiful.
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Wonderful, Deacon, and great to hear from you. I hope all is well.
It is good to hear from you, Deacon Paul! I enjoyed reading the article. Keep up the good work.
Mark and I hope that all is well with you and your family in MA!
Thank you, Kath
Dear Deacon Iacono,
What a nice surprise to see your Fra Angelico Institute for the Sacred Arts blog appear in my inbox! I was wondering why I hadn’t received any for a long while.
Perhaps you don’t remember me, but I lived on your street about 6 years ago, and attended St. Francis of Assisi Parish, while I was caring for my grandniece. We shared our common love of the arts. I keep thinking how I can do more artwork and creative work….
I’m writing to express my sorrow at hearing that you have been suffering from “personal and medical issues”, and let you know that my prayers are with you and your family, and the parish, always. Never doubt that the progress made by suffering offered in union with Christ is even more fruitful than the progress made by positive action. Of course we generally prefer the later. From your comments, it sounds like you have reached a holy indifference which allows Divine Providence to operate freely. Ecce, Fiat, Magnificat…Amen!
With prayers and best wishes for your healing, health, and holy happiness, and that of your family, parish, and the entire Body of Christ!
On Fri, Feb 3, 2017 at 1:07 PM, Fra Angelico Institute for the Sacred Arts wrote:
> Deacon Paul O. Iacono posted: “Galatians 1:15-18 relates St. Paul > saying: “But when God, who had set me apart from the time when I was in my > mother’s womb, called me through His grace and chose to reveal His Son in > me, so that I should preach Him to the Gentiles, I was in no hurry to c” >