REFLECTION: The need for conversion PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 14 March 2015 11:33

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

The season of Lent is a season of conversion. It is asking us for another conversion in an endless series of conversions which our life here on earth is meant for.

Let’s never forget that we are on a journey toward our heavenly and eternal destination. We can only make progress and approach our goal every time we have a conversion.

Conversion is a necessity for us, since no matter how good we feel we are or how good we have been doing so far, we cannot deny the fact that deep in our heart there is always a fundamental choice we have to make every step of our life between good and evil, between God and us.

It is a choice, nay, a battle that can only be resolved and won if with God’s grace, we decide on another conversion, a change of heart, or at least a renewal, a purification, a strengthening of the heart that is constantly assailed by threats and dangers.

We should never take this fact of life for granted, even if we have to regard it also with a lot of naturalness, without making strange or outlandish efforts that can only aggravate instead of mitigate our predicament.

These days, with all the absorbing and entertaining distractions we have, and with all our tricks to cover up our mistakes, faults, sins, etc., it’s very easy to ignore this need for conversion.

But we should know how to handle these distractions. If handled well, these distractions can actually serve as aids, as reminders and spurs, rather than deterrents, to make another conversion.

In the first place, these distractions are unavoidable and also necessary for us to have some rest from our usual work. But if we hurdle the test of how to use them judiciously and prudently, not letting them to dominate us but rather using them for us to attain our proper goal, then they have a very positive value.

Thus, instead of desensitizing us in our relation with God and with others, these distractions can afford us rest that sharpens our piety and love for others. They become the very vehicles where we put to life what Christ himself said about where to find our rest: “Come to me...and I will give you rest.”

We should not allow our rest and recreation to be an activity that can only be pursued outside our relation with God and with others. That would be improper to us, and would expose us to a lot of dangers. Everything in our life, whether it is working or resting, should be done in the permanent context of loving God and others.

Precisely, the Lenten season, with its emphasis on self-denial, discipline, penance and purification, can help us to rein in the potential dangers of these distractions so we can put them in the proper conditions to help us love and serve God and others.

For this, conversion is necessary, since our wounded human condition tends to pursue our rest and recreation, our recourse to legitimate distractions as an exercise in pure self-indulgence and self-centeredness. In fact, the mainstream understanding of rest and recreation goes along this line.

It is this kind of mentality that can explain to a large extent why many people also often complain why they cannot seem to overcome some ugly personal falls like those sins of the flesh committed with one’s own self or with others. They seem incapable of resisting temptations.

It’s precisely because they are imprisoned in their own world, they have been relying simply on their own resources that can only go so far, they have failed to go the source of truth, joy and strength.

Conversion is the path to take to have the necessary changes in our life. Let us imitate those characters in the gospel who, aware of their helplessness, went through some conversion by going back to God.

This is the example of the prodigal son who, after dissipating his inheritance and starting to suffer a lot of privations, came to his senses and decided to go back to his father who received him with great joy.

We need to humble ourselves to acknowledge our sinfulness and go to where we are assured not only of mercy but also of everything else that would put us back to our original dignity as children of God.

Conversion should be an active part of our vocabulary. We have to learn to feel the need for it just like we need air, water and food. God will always welcome us back!