‘Don’t do yourself any harm; we are all here’
Sometimes the Acts of the Apostles reads like a Hollywood adventure story, starring people whose lives seem far removed from our own! Paul and Silas in this story are experiencing extraordinary miracles and showing great faith and fortitude. I am sure that, having been stripped and flogged, my first response would not be to begin “praying and singing God’s praises”!
I think the most extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit in this passage can sometimes be overlooked because of all the amazing things happening. While they were praying and singing:
All the doors flew open, and the chains fell from all the prisoners. When the gaoler woke and saw the doors wide open he drew his sword and was about to commit suicide, presuming that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, ‘Don’t do yourself any harm; we are all here.’
Paul is not concerned for his own life but his goaler’s. He has become a person who sees all people as valuable, worthy of respect, and full of dignity. This is a work of the Holy Spirit as much as the miracles. As the Catechism says: “God is Love “124 and love is his first gift, containing all others. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (CCC 733)