“Each person finds his good by adherence to God’s plan for him, in order to realize it fully: in this plan, he finds his truth, and through adherence to this truth he becomes free” (cf. Jn 8:22).
In Charity And Truth, Pope Benedict XVI, 29 June, 2009.
ED. NOTE: [H/T The American Catholic]
The following essay is heroic. I predict in years to follow the work itself will greatly lend itself to helping many souls rise above themselves and the inevitable struggle wherein human sin and the great gift of conversion meet the authentic/overriding Love, Mercy, and Forgiveness of our Creator. It’s not simply a conversion story for those Catholics and non-Catholics with homosexual tendencies alone. The Word confirms that “the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” And this is true for all flesh and each of us too. But nonetheless, the divine revelation of Truth confirmed in the Love of God’s Own Spirit poured out into our hearts also confirms the hope of everlasting life found within us, just as St. Paul stated. And this hope leads us to purify ourselves daily through conversion in faithful response to such grace and the commandments of Love.
Yes, in our days the sins of the flesh in all sorts of manner and form seem victorious within societies; and even within Catholic communities there are those who would propose homosexuality and the sins of the flesh as a good and insist upon them as a right politically and religiously, but they are wrong spiritually as Sacred Scripture attests. Hopefully, this essay from a spiritual hero will plant a seed that another will water, and still another will reap.
What is forgotten I think, or needs to be learned, is that following this short life our baptized souls are destined to the profound realization of Divine Life in the same Spirit of Love wherein even men and women no longer marry. As Our Lord states, “their souls”, He Says, “will be like unto the Angels” (immaterial spirits) married to God Alone until the Final Resurrection. And on that Final Day, according to the Just Judge of each of our lives, our souls will be reunited to our bodies perfectly beautiful forever somewhere within the new Heavens and New Earth–This is the goal and meaning underlying every created human life: allowing the one true God and Jesus Christ Whom He sent to free us from sin in “preparation for paradise…” This essay works towards that end.
Eric– If you read this I want to thank you for re-inspiring me in my own struggles and battle with the flesh. Rest assured that this Sunday I will be offering the Holy Mass for you and all the intentions I found within your essay…
With awe in your efforts at fidelity,
james mary evans
Fides Quaerens Intellectum
I suppose this is a very belated Lenten reflection, and with reason too. I certainly do not know the worth or value of any spiritual reflection I have to give, so I will not dare to assign one. All I can is say is that in the past few months I have come a long way, certainly not far enough, but conversion is always a process and not a destination.
In the liturgical season of Lent, for the past two years, I have kept the Ramadan fast strictly following the rules as practiced by Muslims. In place of the prescribed Islamic prayers throughout the day, I prayed the Divine Office. For forty days, at least, my life was completely and utterly centered on God and awareness of His presence in a way that it normally is not, sad as it is. This second year in keeping the fast I felt more than a spiritual solidarity with the poor as I had the year before. I learned much more about fasting, so much that it bothers me greatly that this potent tool has been diminished in the contemporary Church.
Lent, or the Great Fast, as it is called in the East, is not simply about giving up soda, or candy, or reducing the amount of food intake. Fasting rather calls us to prayer and penance and to divorce it from these vital elements is to forsake the meaning of fasting. After all, what does it gain you to eat less, avoid meat, or abstain from temporal goods, if you are ready and willing to “chew up” and consume your brothers and sisters in an argument with such venom and heat? Why sacrifice the joys of eating good food and not sacrifice the sinful “joy” of gossiping?
It struck me ever so clearly why I should fast all the time. Though it seems obvious, we often forget that fasting is intimately related and undoubtedly necessary for conversion—of heart, mind, and will. Now, at the completion of the Pauline year, this mystery, of conversion, stands at the forefront of my life and at the heart of my reflection over these past few months that begin on Ash Wednesday.
Nothing, I think, is more profoundly interesting in the field of human psychology than the mystery of conversion. I have experienced this phenomenon radically and I hardly understand it. In the study of the psychology of religion, conversion is considered the most perplexing and fascinating behavioral change. This year marked my third Ash Wednesday. My first year, I was to be baptized the coming Holy Saturday. The second year marked my first Lent as a baptized and confirmed Catholic. This year, I think I was finally paying attention. Repent and believe in the Gospel. Those words carried a profound sentiment as the priest made a Cross of Ashes on my forehead.
The subjective experience of this has been at the forefront of my reflection during Lent, throughout Easter, beyond Pentecost, and still now. Why exactly do people radically forsake their entire worldview, life-philosophy, and ethical codes for something different? And what can similar experiences, if the process is not the same for everyone, tell us about the human condition?
The questions began as general and evolved into something personal, very personal. I have been asking myself a simple, but complex question. Why am I Catholic? This question seems odd. I don’t think I have presented myself to people in such a way that would leave them suspicious of the fact that I have internally debated my status in the Church, that is, whether or not I can or will keep this up forever. Indeed, I have thought intensely about this, quite consciously actually. To be completely honest, I never had any intention of talking about or even discussing this matter. What business is it to anyone else?
As it happens, a certain individual on The American Catholic a while back read a long comment I posted in response to a column that involved personal conversion details that I used to make a point, only to notice upon reloading his browser, I had thought twice about it and decided to remove it rather promptly. In the same evening, he encouraged me to not withhold it unless I felt the matter too personal to share, for he believed that it had the potential to be an incredible witness. So, following his advice I am going to share it—though I am not entirely sure he knew what he was asking.