Conversion in the Year of Faith – 5

We are now one full month into the Year of Faith.  How’s it going for you?

Another resource to which Pope Benedict directs us in this Year of Faith is the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), wherein we find this demanding teaching concerning ongoing conversion (in n. 2784):

The free gift of adoption requires on our part continual conversion and new life. Praying to our Father should develop in us two fundamental dispositions:

First, the desire to become like him: though created in his image, we are restored to his likeness by grace; and we must respond to this grace.

  • We must remember . . . and know that when we call God “our Father” we ought to behave as sons of God.
  • You cannot call the God of all kindness your Father if you preserve a cruel and inhuman heart; for in this case you no longer have in you the marks of the heavenly Father’s kindness.
  • We must contemplate the beauty of the Father without ceasing and adorn our own souls accordingly.

Note the importance of grace.  It is so easy, as we endeavor to make changes in our lives, to tend to rely on our own power.  Cooperating with grace is an art, and takes a great deal of personal discipline.  The temptation is so great for us to want to be in control.  Perhaps some reflection on the healing miracles performed by Jesus will help to increase our faith in the ease with which the power of God can effect change in our lives.  Our post-Communion prayer time would be enhanced by taking some time to entreat Jesus for the special grace we need in order to make progress in those areas in which we are striving for conversion.

I was strongly convicted when I read that “We must contemplate the beauty of the Father without ceasing…”  It revealed to me a certain faith-blindness with which I am afflicted.  I have surely taken time now and again to reflect on the beauty of God in nature, in His creation.  But I have difficulty ‘seeing’ the beauty of the Father Himself.  Yet, the CCC challenges us to contemplate it “without ceasing.”  I can see how this is necessary for our ongoing conversion.  Since we, as adopted sons, are called to participate in the eternal exchange of love among the Blessed Trinity, contemplating the various aspects of it will provide us with inspiration, with a vision to pursue, with motivation.

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