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Monday, January 17, 2000

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St. Anthony

1 Samuel 15:16-23
Psalm 50
Mark 2:18-22

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sauls or pauls?

"I will correct you." —Psalm 50:21

Saul, the first king of the Israelites, went from bad to worse. He disobeyed God in warfare (1 Sm 15:19), attempted to murder David, became involved in the occult, and committed suicide, in addition to other sins. Many of our political leaders are also getting worse, as they play politics with abortion (even partial birth abortion), euthanasia, pornography, the perversion of homosexual acts, and a multitude of other injustices.

Therefore, "first of all I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for all men, especially for kings and those in authority" (1 Tm 2:1-2). "Prayer of this kind is good, and God our Savior is pleased with it" (1 Tm 2:3). "The fervent petition of a holy man is powerful indeed" (Jas 5:16). "Remember this: the person who brings a sinner back from his way will save his soul from death and cancel a multitude of sins" (Jas 5:20).

Some demons cannot be driven out except by prayer and fasting (Mt 17:21). Pope John Paul II has taught: "Prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil" (The Gospel of Life, 100). Jesus announced: "The day will come, however, when the Groom will be taken away from them; on that day they will fast" (Mk 2:20). That day is now.

Saul's namesake in the New Testament was getting worse. He was "a blasphemer, a persecutor, a man filled with arrogance" (1 Tm 1:13). He repented, gave his life to Jesus, and became an apostle, evangelist, missionary, martyr, and saint. Sauls turn to Satan and suicide, or they turn into Pauls. Pray and fast for our Sauls to become Pauls.

Prayer:  Father, may I believe in Your power to convert much more than I believe in Satan's power to pervert.

Praise:  St. Anthony took to heart the Scripture passage, "Do not be anxious about tomorrow" (Mt 6:34). He gave away the little he had not yet given to the poor.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 21, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1999