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A Liturgical Conversion: Weekly Message for 01-19-2021
Dear Fellow Digital Pilgrim, pax Christi:
As a convert to the Catholic faith, one of my favorite liturgical feast days of the year is January 25th, The Conversion of St Paul.
It fills me with wonder to think that the Holy Spirit guided the Church to establish a feast day dedicated to someone’s conversion. Most saint’s days coincide with the day of their death. St Paul’s death is also commemorated in the liturgy, along with St. Peter’s, on June 29th. But this month the Church turns our attention towards St. Paul converting from a zealous persecutor of Christianity to an incomparably zealous and loving preacher of Christ.
For myself, this feast day – and the week of prayer for Christian unity in which it falls – always moves me to reflect on God’s action in my own life. I grew up in a household without faith, had a strong experience of grace in a non-denominational church when I was a teenager, and discovered and started to fall in love with the Catholic Church when I was in college. (For those of you who are interested, I tell my conversion story in a chapter included in From Atheism to Catholicism: Nine Converts Explain Their Journey Home.)
And yet, thirty years later I keep discovering that my conversion is not complete. Every season of life seems to bring new challenges, which God uses to reveal that my heart and my mind are still in need of conversion – of healing, strengthening, illumination, and growth. There always seems to be more to discover, more to do, more to explore in this Christian journey. Maybe you have experienced the same thing.
This ongoing journey of transformation in Christ is why RCSpirituality exists. We believe that our lives in Christ are an adventure that, literally, will never end. We want to keep providing resources that can help you discover and respond to the ever-fresh invitations God is making in your life. This month, as we celebrate once again God’s wonderful work of converting the heart and mind of St. Paul, we hope and pray that you too will be renewed in your own pursuit of holiness. As Pope Francis reminded us all in his Apostolic Letter Rejoice and Be Glad!
To the extent that each Christian grows in holiness, he or she will bear greater fruit for our world… Do not be afraid to set your sights higher, to allow yourself to be loved and liberated by God. Do not be afraid to let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit. Holiness does not make you less human, since it is an encounter between your weakness and the power of God’s grace. For in the words of León Bloy, when all is said and done, “the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.” [#s 33-34].
May God bless you and keep you as you move forward on your Christian adventure! Keep counting on our prayers.
Yours in Him,
Fr John Bartunek, LC