Conversion in the Year of Faith – 1


Today, we in the Catholic Church begin a special “Year of Faith” proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI.  Hopefully by now you’ve already heard something about it.  Our Holy Father issued a document describing why it is needed and how we might celebrate it efficaciously.  The CDF also suggested some ways in which we might observe this year of grace.  I won’t bother to summarize all they’ve said.  Our hope for this Year is that, if properly observed, it will help us to better live through Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus and for Jesus!

In his document, Pope Benedict refers in numerous instances, directly and indirectly, to conversion.  Here are a few examples:  [I’ve emboldened the words indicating conversion]

…the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace…

renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ…

We must rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the Word of God…

…follows constantly the path of penance and renewal.

…a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion

…calls us to conversion of life

purified and transformed, on a journey that is never completely finished in this life.

…self-abandonment, in a continuous crescendo, into the hands of a love that seems to grow constantly…

Reflection on the faith will have to be intensified, so as to help all believers in Christ to acquire a more conscious and vigorous adherence to the Gospel…

…we make it our prayer that believers’ witness of life may grow in credibility…

…the action of grace which acts and transforms the person deep within.

…in his sharing our human weakness so as to transform it by the power of his resurrection…

…may this Year of Faith make our relationship with Christ the Lord increasingly firm

Having read this document by our Holy Father, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit about this ‘conversion’ aspect of the “Year of Faith” perhaps because of this:  Each time we receive the Sacrament of Penance (i.e., go to Confession), one of the requirements for a worthy reception of this sacrament is a ‘firm purpose of amendment’ (cf. CCC 1452, 1490).  As I was praying prior to one of my recent Confessions, I was disappointed by the low level of “amendment” exhibited in my life, the indicator being my repetition in Confession of the same sins over the past months, perhaps even years.

Catholic teaching refers to this amendment – or change – as conversion.  Continual change is often referred to as ongoing conversion.  In this year of special graces (and indulgences!), I’m going to strive for conversion in a number of areas of my life.  I’m also going to try to learn more about ongoing conversion.  I hope to be able to share some of what I learn with you via blog posts here.

A Blessed Year of Faith to all !!

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