Who was Ananias?


I posted this on a non-Catholic website and have not received a response yet. So, I’ll try here. TIA

1Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?“
5"Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6"Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

7The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

10In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

11The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

13"Lord," Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

15But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

17Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

In verse 12 Jesus tells Ananias to place his hands on Saul/Paul to restore his sight. In verse 17 in ADDITION to Saul/Paul’s sight being restored Saul/Paul receives the Holy Spirit.

Questions: Who is Ananias? Why does Jesus choose Ananias to restore Paul/Saul’s sight? Could not Jesus restore Paul/Saul’s site on His own? Why does Paul/Saul receive the Holy Spirit upon having his sight restored? At this point of receiving the Holy Spirit, is Paul now an Apostle?


Jesus often used human or earthly means to cure people and perform other miracles so that it would be easier for us to relate to. We’re simpletons - he’s not.

The feeding of the 5000 - he used food that was available. He could have conjured up a meal by himself.

He used mud to cure the blind man.

He told Peter to pull a coin out of the fish to pay a toll. He could have produced the coin himself - and so on.


If I am not mistaken, tradition holds Ananias as one of the 70 other disciples Jesus sent out (Lk 10:1).

The reason for the duality of the natural (laying hands) with the supernatural (infusion of the Spirit) lies in the mystery of the Incarnation itself. You see prior to the Incarnation, there was an infinite chasm between God and man. Man could not get to heaven. Natural could not reach the supernatural. Jesus Christ came and embodied BOTH humanity and divinity, the natural and supernatural, and thus became the “bridge” by which we reach God and ultimately eternal life. The sacraments perpetuate Jesus’ presence, and thus, like Him, contain both characteristics natural and characteristics supernatural. The laying of hands + Spirit. Baptism is the water and formula + the Spirit. The Eucharist is both corporeal and divine. Etc…

Of course with the click of a finger God could have reconciled man to Himself and not needed the Incarnation, but He chose to come to us, on our level, and take on our corrupt bodies. It more powerfully communicates His love for us, in my opinion, whereas the clicking of the fingers and just restoring Paul’s sight would less represent the means by which Jesus continues to be perpetuated in the world. So instead, Ananias went in persona Christi, and by his act, demonstrated the fusion of natural and supernatural, bringing about Paul’s sight.


IMHO, God sent Ananias to Saul for two reasons. First, Saul needed to brought into community. Second, the community needed to know where Saul stood with God, otherwise considering Saul’s history it would have been even harder than it was for the community to accept Saul/Paul and the job God had for him.


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