The Octave of Prayer for Christian unity ends with this feast of the Conversion of St Paul. That is in itself an encouragement to hope. Who would have thought that Saul, relentless persecutor of The Way, would undergo a conversion of heart so complete that he would be named an Apostle of Jesus Christ, would live and die for him, and be remembered today as a towering figure of the early Church, a saint, a man no one can easily ignore? Today we need the kind of hope St Paul inspires, not only in our quest for Christian unity but also in our prayer for peace in Syria. One reader of this blog is a Catholic Sister living and working in Straight Street, Damascus. I find myself moved by the knowledge that even today, amidst all the dangers of the war in Syria, there are Christians patiently living out the Gospel in the very place where Paul first saw the Light and came to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour. May that same Light enlighten the hearts and minds of those taking part in the Geneva peace talks today. Amen.