God doesn’t leave anything to chance. It’s not a coincidence that St. Peter and many of the other Apostles were fishermen. When Jesus called them to follow Him, He spoke to them in a manner they would immediately understand from their trade: “From henceforth thou shalt catch men.”
The last Apostle—St. Paul—seems to have a random trade at first glance: making tents. Just plain, sturdy, simple tents that the nomadic Israelites used for homes. And that wasn’t anything special; his whole town of Tarsus was known for its tentmakers.
Yet Paul’s trade echoed his work as an Apostle. Paul himself became something of a nomad as he traveled the known world endlessly, spreading the Gospel’s message and bringing souls to Jesus Christ. He didn’t always have a tent to shelter him, but the Church spread her protecting roof over him.
As the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul must have reflected further on this parallel between his life as a tentmaker and his life as an Apostle. Formerly, he had made tents for Jews to live in and take shelter under; he had made movable, temporary homes to shield human frailty from weather.
Now, as a follower of Jesus Christ, he offered shelter to Gentiles as well as Jews—shelter that would be with them wherever they went; shelter that warded off evil from their vulnerable souls. That shelter was the Church, the one “tent” under which Jesus desires all souls to be gathered.
St. Paul continues to form and help us through his prolific writings, inspiring life, and continual prayers for us. His great legacy to the Church has been explored by Pope Benedict XVI in Saint Paul, the book that brings to life this great saint and reminds us of his importance in our lives today. Get your copy today at The Catholic Company!