Today in the Globe James Carroll meditates on the passing of one of his mentors, Lutheran Bishop of Sweden Krister Stendahl. Excuse Jim for overstating:
Krister Stendahl argued that Christians - at least since Martin Luther, if not since St. Augustine - had misread the testimony of that early apostle. In this misreading, St. Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus was taken as rescue from a troubled preoccupation with sin and guilt, establishing the paradigm of Christian grace, which saves, against Mosaic Law, which condemns. Stendahl showed that St. Paul's conscience, instead of anguished, was "robust." His stance before God was overwhelmingly one of confidence, not terror. God's constant love, not God's threat, was Paul's driving force.
“Be not afraid”, as John Paul II always said.