‘Let love be genuine’

by Kevin Birnbaum

Conversion on the Way to Damascus by Caravaggio (1571-1610)

This painting is located in the Carasi Chapel of Santa Maria del Populo in Rome, right across from another of Caravaggio’s masterpieces, the Crucifixion of St. Peter. It depicts the conversion of St. Paul, as described in chapter nine of the Acts of the Apostles. I was thinking of it today because I just finished reading Paul’s letter to the Romans, in which he gives a beautiful description of what it means to live as a Christian:

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. (Rom 12:9-18)