St. Paul and the Call to Adapt to Radical Change

Saint Paul at desk - Renata Sedmakova/

Paul had an extraordinarily active life. It’s exhausting just to read about his missionary journeys: the many times he was shipwrecked, persecuted, imprisoned, and beaten. Finally, he was accused of various crimes by the Jewish authorities and exercised his right as a Roman citizen to appeal his case to Caesar (Acts 25:11). When he got to Rome, after another adventurous journey (Acts 27:1–28:14), he was placed under house arrest, with a soldier to guard him (Acts 28:16).

Imagine how he felt. After spending most of his adult life traveling around the whole Mediterranean world, preaching and teaching and arguing, and later baptizing and founding churches, suddenly he found himself confined to a rented lodging, all alone except for a guard, in a place where the new movement of Christianity was viewed with suspicion. What did he do?

He found a new way of exercising discipleship. Instead of a life of constant motion, he discerned a call to greater stability. Instead of seeking out and preaching to large groups, he “received all who came to him.” He responded to a call to radical change.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, so can we. Retirement, the empty-nest experience, widowhood—all these states of life might call for the kind of radical change that Paul experienced. Can we let go of our assumptions about how God may be calling us?

—Excerpted from Answering God’s Call by Barbara Lee


  1. Love this article. It confirms what I have been doing the past 14 years of my retirement. I am a follower of the Ignatian way and participated in a small pilot course to become a facilitator to assist those who wanted to know and practice the ExamenThen the pandemic came and I thought I would never get the chance to put what I was called to do due to the isolation and rules to keep the pandemic contained. God definitely knows me and He made me aware that not only can I strengthen my own spiritual self but can still be a disciple to others as we come into each other’s life and provide an individual opportunity to hear about where they are in their journey with the Trinity and share some of each other’s story. I am 74 years old and it is the most fulfilling time in my life to be able still to assist others in their spiritual journey.


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