I am sitting in a McDonald's in order to use the Net and almost exactly across from me is the island and rocks where St. Paul endured his shipwreck.
Sometimes the modern world jars one's sensibilities.
The sea is rough today and it is cold.
Here is the passage from Acts, on the event which converted Malta. St. Publius was the first bishop of Malta and a martyr. Local belief is that the people of Naxxar helped St. Paul and his companions and that he traveled as far as the Rabat and Mdina area.
27 But after the fourteenth night was come, as we were sailing in Adria, about midnight, the shipmen deemed that they discovered some country.
28 Who also sounding, found twenty fathoms; and going on a little further, they found fifteen fathoms.
29 Then fearing lest we should fall upon rough places, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.
30 But as the shipmen sought to fly out of the ship, having let down the boat into the sea, under colour, as though they would have cast anchors out of the forepart of the ship,
31 Paul said to the centurion, and to the soldiers: Except these stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.
32 Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.
33 And when it began to be light, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying: This day is the fourteenth day that you have waited, and continued fasting, taking nothing.
34 Wherefore I pray you to take some meat for your health's sake; for there shall not an hair of the head of any of you perish.
35 And when he had said these things, taking bread, he gave thanks to God in the sight of them all; and when he had broken it, he began to eat.
36 Then were they all of better cheer, and they also took some meat.
37 And we were in all in the ship, two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.
38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, casting the wheat into the sea.
39 And when it was day, they knew not the land; but they discovered a certain creek that had a shore, into which they minded, if they could, to thrust in the ship.
40 And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves to the sea, loosing withal the rudder bands; and hoisting up the mainsail to the wind, they made towards shore.
41 And when we were fallen into a place where two seas met, they run the ship aground; and the forepart indeed, sticking fast, remained unmoveable: but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the sea.
42 And the soldiers' counsel was, that they should kill the prisoners, lest any of them, swimming out, should escape.
43 But the centurion, willing to save Paul, forbade it to be done; and he commanded that they who could swim, should cast themselves first into the sea, and save themselves, and get to land.
44 And the rest, some they carried on boards, and some on those things that belonged to the ship. And so it came to pass, that every soul got safe to land.
28 And when we had escaped, then we knew that the island was called Melita. But the barbarians shewed us no small courtesy.
2 For kindling a fire, they refreshed us all, because of the present rain, and of the cold.
3 And when Paul had gathered together a bundle of sticks, and had laid them on the fire, a viper coming out of the heat, fastened on his hand.
4 And when the barbarians saw the beast hanging on his hand, they said one to another: Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, who though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance doth not suffer him to live.
5 And he indeed shaking off the beast into the fire, suffered no harm.
6 But they supposed that he would begin to swell up, and that he would suddenly fall down and die. But expecting long, and seeing that there came no harm to him, changing their minds, they said, that he was a god.
7 Now in these places were possessions of the chief man of the island, named Publius, who receiving us, for three days entertained us courteously.
8 And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever, and of a bloody flux. To whom Paul entered in; and when he had prayed, and laid his hands on him, he healed him.
9 Which being done, all that had diseases in the island, came and were healed:
10 Who also honoured us with many honours, and when we were to set sail, they laded us with such things as were necessary.
11 And after three months, we sailed in a ship of Alexandria, that had wintered in the island, whose sign was the Castors.