Conversion of Heart

Posted: May 31, 2013 in Uncategorized
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     When healing takes place in us, we are led to increased and lasting forgiveness, a desire to help others, to reach out to others with love and understanding.

When healing begins our heart is opened to Conversion, a return to God.  Our strength is open to His will for us; His plan for us.

God has a plan for each one of us.  No one is left out.  God has a personal mission for you and you alone.    We are all “somebody” to God, and we always have been “somebody” even before He knit us together in our mother’s womb. No matter how bad, how dark, or how evil things get, God’s mercy is there for us.

Conversion is not just a point in time, an idea, a feeling, an inspiration, or educational.  It is a journey.  It is a daily decision; a daily attempt to accept the Gospel; a daily repentance, to pick ourselves up time after time and to try to respond to God’s call.  Conversion is continual repentance.  It is accepting daily that we cannot save ourselves; it is a turning to God.

Much of this following section on conversion is borrowed from a book by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., called “The Reform of Renewal”.

So once our heart is open to Conversion and our strength is open to His will, how do we make lasting, ongoing conversion most effective?  Pope John Paul II gives us the steps in his letter to priests.

Gain Self-Awareness.  Any ongoing conversion must begin with an awareness that something needs to change.  Sit down and ask yourself if you are really satisfied with the way you are responding to God’s grace and Christ’s call to your vocation of fatherhood.  Are you responding as well as you might to other opportunities that life offers you?  If you are satisfied with yourself, then I suspect you are in real trouble.  If you are not satisfied, then the next step is to ask what needs to be reformed.  In the story of the Prodigal Son, the son did gain the awareness that his situation had to change.  He was in dire need.  “Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger’.” (Luke 15:17).  He realized and admitted to himself that he sinned against his father.  His situation had to change.

Plan a Strategy. Change is difficult.  You must develop a strategy for change, recognizing two distinct things.  First, realize that you get what you want over the long haul of life.  If you want to do God’s will but also want something that is in conflict with that will, you must resolve the conflict.  If you do not, you are obviously going to remain in conflict. Second, realize that you are powerless to overcome serious spiritual obstacles.  We simply cannot heal ourselves.  For this reason prayer is necessary.  Not just words, but prayer from our heart.  Do we need to make peace with another person?  Do we need to make a good confession?  We must constantly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that we do not save ourselves.  The Prodigal Son planned a strategy that he would go back to his father humbly.  In his strategy he acknowledges that he sinned against him and against God.  He acknowledges that he needs to resolve the conflict and that he needs God’s help.  “I shall get up and go to my father and shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.” (Luke 15:18-19)

 Learn to Cope.  Make a list of effective steps for change in the order of their execution.  If you know that your prayer life is dwindled or gone, set aside some particular time to pray.  If the time is unsuitable then change it, but keep the goal to improve your prayer.  Start small, maybe one Hail Mary or Our Father a day.  Don’t take too big of steps but take the step.  “So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught site of him and was filled with compassion.  He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20)  If we can only manage to open the door a crack and even if we are still a long way off, God can begin to help and comfort us.  We just need to take the step.

Ensure that what you are doing has a solid foundation.  Do not try to do something that is impossible.  Take small steps, start simple.  You can check your decisions by discussing them with a priest or a friend.  Remember there is no short cut to holiness.  Any great journey begins with one step and continues on with a momentum gathered with each succeeding step.

Only God changes things for the better.   But He does this if we give Him the opportunity to use us.  There is no limit to how much God gives us except the limits that we put on Him.  We need to remember that no evil, NO EVIL, is so great, no sin so terrible that God cannot win out over it.  We have to trust Him.  God gives us many of the saints as examples.  Many of them had less than perfect pasts.  Look at St. Paul, St. Augustine and St. Romuald.  They had very checkered pasts.  God uses them to reassure us that no matter how sinful our own past, the grace and mercy of God can make us into saints.

“Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”  Romans 12:2



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