TIME FOR SUCCESSIVE CONVERSIONS WHICH STEM
FROM A RADICAL CHANGE OF THE HEART.
Dear brethren in Christ, we are now in the season of Lent which among other things, is a time for conversion, which has to take place in the heart of each one of us.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that “Jesus’ call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, ‘sackcloth and ashes,’ fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance (n. 1430).”
Conversion, “[i]nterior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one’s life, with hope in God’s mercy and trust in the help of his grace. This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and sadness which the Fathers called animi cruciatus (affliction of spirit) and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart) (n. 1431).”
But our desire for conversion should be founded not on a mere human voluntarism but rather on the knowledge of God’s mercy. “Authentic knowledge of the God of mercy, the God of tender love, is a constant and inexhaustible source of conversion, not only as a momentary interior act but also as a permanent attitude, as a state of mind. Those who come to know God in this way, who ‘see’ him in this way, can live only in a state of being continually converted to him. They live, therefore, in statu conversionis; and it is this state of conversion which marks out the most profound element of the pilgrimage of every man and woman on earth in statu viatoris.” (St. John Paull II, Dives in Misericordia, n. 13)
This conversion is never-ending: it is not only confined to Lent or Advent but rather continuous till our last second in this life:
“In our life, in the life of Christians, our first conversion — that unique moment which each of us remembers, when we clearly understood everything the Lord was asking of us — is certainly very significant. But the later conversions are even more important, and they are increasingly demanding. To facilitate the work of grace in these conversions, we need to keep our soul young; we have to call upon our Lord, know how to listen to him and, having found out what has gone wrong, know how to ask his pardon. (St. Josemaría, Christ is Passing By, n. 57)”
Saint Josemaría insisted that “each day is not just one conversion: it is many conversions. Each time that you rectify and, seeing something that is not going right (even though it may not be a sin), you try to divinize your life more, you have made a conversion.” (St. Josemaría, Notes from a family conversation, October 1, 1970.)
Dear friends, let us then embark joyfully on the path of the Lent journey of conversion and interior repentance, entrusting ourselves to God’s grace and rectifying many times during the day to get closer to Him through acts of love and contrition. May Our Lady, Our Mother, Help of Christians and Refuge of sinners, accompany us along this journey towards Easter.
Below are some links which might help you in your personal meditation.
USEFUL LINKS FOR PERSONAL MEDITATION:
THE CHRISTIAN’S TASK OF DAILY CONVERSION: https://catholicsstrivingforholiness.com/2015/10/24/pope-francis-on-the-christians-task-of-daily-conversion-and-interior-struggle-toward-the-encounter-with-jesus-christ/
CONVERSION OF THE HEART: https://catholicsstrivingforholiness.com/2015/08/30/pope-francis-on-the-conversion-of-the-heart-mere-exterior-fulfillment-of-the-precepts-is-not-enough-they-must-come-from-a-pure-heart-with-the-right-intention/
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