"At that point, Paul left them." —Acts 17:33
- Paul failed to lead many Athenians to faith in Jesus.
- Paul failed to persuade the Athenians to take Him seriously (Acts 17:32).
- Paul failed to proclaim Christ crucified (see 1 Cor 2:2).
- Paul failed to use the Scriptures in his preaching at Athens.
Paul probably knew he failed for he said to the Corinthians after leaving Athens: "When I came among you it was in weakness and fear, and with much trepidation" (1 Cor 2:3).
The Holy Spirit helped Paul in his weakness and failure (see Rm 8:26). He strengthened Paul through Christian community, especially with Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:2). The Spirit may have helped Paul through the manual labor of tentmaking, Paul's old job (Acts 18:3). The Spirit also confirmed Paul in the Sabbath synagogue services "in which he persuaded certain Jews and Greeks" that Jesus was the Messiah (Acts 18:4-5).
We have all failed in our Christian life. We may have failed as parents, spouses, children, workers, or teachers. The Holy Spirit will confirm us so that our failures will not be used to manipulate us into choosing the ultimate failure — the failure to persevere in our love for the Lord.
Prayer: Father, send the Holy Spirit so that I will never fail to persevere after failing.
Promise: "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. When He comes, however, being the Spirit of truth He will guide you to all truth." —John 16:12-13
Praise: Thomas frequently went to Confession and never failed to receive God's forgiveness.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order Fr. Lauer's tape on Staying Filled with the Spirit on audio AV 57-1 or video V-57.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, December 9, 2000
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 12, 2000