Theresa Doyle-Nelson enjoys researching and writing about holy people from the Bible. She has written for a variety of Catholic resources and is the author of Saints in Scripture. Theresa and her husband Chad have been married for over 30 years, and although their nest is now empty, their three adult sons have growing families — providing enjoyable opportunities for growing gatherings and grandchildren graces! Theresa and Chad are parishioners at the beautiful and historic St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Bandera, Texas. You can find Theresa’s blog, “The Hill Country Hermit” at TheresaDoyle-Nelson.blogspot.com.
There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” ―Acts 9:10
The story of Ananias actually begins with Saul (also known as Paul). Before Saul became a fervent evangelizer of Christianity, he seethed with contempt toward any follower of Christ. After persecuting countless Christians in Jerusalem, he set out for Damascus (capital of modern Syria), a city about 160 miles away, hoping to extinguish any traces of Christianity there as well. On his way, a brilliant light flashed about him, blinding him and causing him to fall from his horse. Then the voice of Jesus spoke in clear words to Saul, challenging his ferocious mission. The stunned and sightless Saul had to be led the rest of the way to Damascus, where for three days he could not see and refrained from all food and drink.
Meanwhile, living in Damascus was Ananias, a faith-filled disciple. The Lord spoke to Ananias as well, telling him the whereabouts of the home where Saul was staying. The Lord asked Ananias to go there and lay his hands upon Saul so he could regain his sight. Ananias was shocked over this request because he knew of how viciously Saul treated Christians. The Lord reassured the apprehensive Ananias, insisting that Saul was soon to become a great tool for the Lord―that he was to advocate Christianity in a powerful way. So, Ananias proceeded to the home and placed his hands upon Saul. Immediately, Saul’s sight was restored, and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. From then on, Saul vehemently supported all that Christ stood for.
It is believed by many that Ananias was a leader of the Church in Damascus and allowed his home to be used for worship. Some sources assert that he moved onto Eleutheropolis and was martyred while evangelizing there. The road where the home in which Ananias went to heal Paul―“the street called Straight”―can still be found in Damascus and is a place of pilgrimage. Christian pilgrims can also find in present-day Damascus a chapel that is believed to be at the site where Ananias’s home once stood.
Bible Journaling with St. Ananias
Jan. 25 marks the memorial of St. Ananias (as well as the Conversion of St. Paul!). Because of the way God used Ananias to restore Saul’s eyesight, health workers, or those in the healing ministries might turn to this saint for intercession. Though not mentioned much in the Bible, there is still much to reflect upon within the few verses relating to this holy man. Perhaps you might take out a notebook, write a few notes, and consider how this man’s life might inspire your faith journey.
Day 1) Acts 9:10–19
Day 2) Acts 22:12–16