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John 3,16

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I didn´t know I needed the conversion

převzato od P.Eliase Velly

I preached, carried out my priesthood duties diligently.And like this I supposed I was with Him.It has never crossed my mind that I needed to be fully converted.They started to pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon me.However, I thought I had it all.But I didn´t have anything.I spoke about the Spirit but I haven´t encountered the Spirit yet.
I taught about Christ but I haven´t really met Christ.
I didn´t know I needed the conversion
I guess that Each of us has to experience that thing which is called the second conversion.Normally we speak about our first conversion but then the time comes when we arrive at the second conversion.
 

I´d like to tell you my personal experience.In 1978 I was at a great charismatical conference in Dublin but I didn´t go there because I´d have been a member of the Charismatical Renewal.I was invited and that was all.There were 25000 people and approximately 800 priests. During the conference, which took place at the stadium, there was certain amount of time dedicated to discussing in small groups and seminaries.I was in a small group of about 12 priests.At that time – in 1978 – I did plently of things for Jesus. I preached, carried out my priesthood duties diligently.And like this I supposed I was with Him.It has never crossed my mind that I needed to be fully converted.I served the divine service every day,received the Holy Communion every day and like this it was allright for me.When we were in this small group, the leader of this group asked a very simple question:“ You are from a very far-away country.

 

Why are you here?What´s the purpose of your coming to this conference in Dublin? What´s your objective? An old priest said:“I´m here to ask Jesus to convert me.“I was really outraged.How come that this old priest came to Dublin to be converted? And another said: I´m here to meet Jesus more closely.
 
  
 
To tell the truth, it was sort of very weird language they were using.I thought all of us had already Jesus in our hearts and so I was very open when it was my turn.At that time I taught the theology and so I replied:“ Well, I came here because I know there is a new phenomen in the Catholic Church called Charismatical Renewal and I´d like to know something about it.And I remember that then occured the biggest shock of my life, that means my conversion happened.The priest, who lead the group, said:“All right, Father, will you kneel down because we´ll have to pray for your conversion.I knelt down because I was puzzled but I wasn´t really persuaded that I had to go down to my knees.And they began praying for my conversion.They started to pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon me.However, I thought I had it all.But I didn´t have anything.I spoke about the Spirit but I haven´t encountered the Spirit yet.I taught about Christ but I haven´t met Christ yet.And it was the beginning of my conversion.It was only then when I went and found my friends from Malta – there was a small group of us, Maltians in Dublin – and they could see I was a bit confused, they aked me what happened.And when I told them what had happened, you know what they answered me? “Praise be to God, we´ve been praying for Your conversion for a very long time.“And I thank God today they´ve prayed for me.
 

                                        

Borrowed from the Elias Vella´s book:Anchor your life in God.

 
 
…and the reflexion…
Why do the Christians fail to be converted?
 
Jesus is calling for the conversion:     (Mk, 1:15)
 
It´s expressed clearly but to put it in the practical life is more difficult.That´s why the Church comes with its teaching that reflects the wisdom of the experience of 2000 years of its existence.The baptism becomes the main place of the first conversion.The second conversion is the permanent task for  the whole Church but the effort for this conversion isn´t only human work.
 
Be converted and believe the gospel
 
I never liked this order.I didn´t realize it that it was just the order of commands that doesn´t suit me.It´s happened only nowdays.I´d like to write my experience about why Christians fail to be converted in their lives.This short Jesus´s sentence which is composed of two commands, showed me quite unexpectedly the heart of the matter.In my opinion I have to believe and then be converted.Repent ye and believe the gospel!“It should be the right order.
 
  
 

I´ve been studying the Jesus´s teaching for 25 years and only today I shivered when you reveal the next piece of the puzzle of God´s secrets.It´s amazing how deep the Word of God can be.There is some text on the surface.The description of some“visible situation“.Nevertheless, there is something more profound in almost every biblical sentence ( either in its lines or in the description of some event ).Something hidden.Something that wasn´t written for the humans´ brain but for their hearts.Yeah, for their hearts.If you don´t offer your heart to God, the dimention of God´s word is hidden for you.You can meditate and intellectualize for tens of years but it´s fruitless.You can study at the greatest world theological universities but you can´t ever see as far as this depth.The theology of your heart – Jesus´s school.

No theological university in the world is able to give you the insight into the Word of God like the heart of the simplest or the most sinnful human being that receives the grace to tell Jesus:“Be my Lord.Be the Lord of every sphere of my life.Change me according to your ideas.It´s way above my head.Jesus, can you rule over me?“

And this Jesus´s school has answered my question nowdays.“Why do the Christians fail to be converted?“ Actually, the answer is hidden in this short sentence.Repent ye and believe the gospel.( Mk, 1, 15)
 
It goes without saying that this order is correct.God gives us the exact information.First, you must experience the conversion so that you were able not only to receive the gospel through your faith but to live it in everyday life.If you aren´t converted it doesn´t work.If you aren´t converted it´s just the traditional picture of the life of faith that doesn´t touch anyone, that is at least completely uninteresting if not even negative for your surrounding, that cares about itself one day a week, that doesn´t care that there are also some atheists in the parish to whom nobody talks anything about Jesus.It´s simply the picture of the faith without the conversion.Well, it can´t be better formulated.
 
The week before the last Sunday, the father Vojtěch observed in the homily that during the times of the early Church people were converted and then were baptised.Nowdays it´s exactly the opposite.People are baptised as small babies but the conversion is their basic problem.However, try to hint to someone they should be converted.They should start to do something about it….
 
There is the basic reason why the conversion is so difficult.No unconverted person ever understands or admits they need the conversion.As well as father Vella speaks about it in his introductory testimony.Why? Because he is convinced he doesn´t need it.Why? Because he doesn´t know at all what the conversion means.He is doing so many good things for God.But he doesn´t understand the conversion doesn´t consist in it.I could write ten pages of what the conversion means but still the unconverted person wouldn´t understand it and yet I wouldn´t convince him.I shall limit myself to the short formulation that reflects my thoughts.
 
 
 
 
The conversion is ( not only, but also ) an attitude when I´m interested in working inside the Church according to my individual gifts, which were given to me, to bring other people closer to Christ.To meet Christ personally.Suddenly I find out I care about the people who haven´t encountered Christ yet.It´s a ( new ) longing of heart that was put in by God and that encourages and motivates me to do something so that this longing can be satisfied.It´s my joy and my happiness.When you satisfy this need you have a fantastic and full life.Even if you are often misunderstood, hurt by your surroundings or taken for the fool.However, in spite of these difficulties the longing in your heart becomes stronger and stronger.
 
 
 
If you´ve met Christ you simply must have this longing.I don´t believe there is a human being on this Earth that has met God´s love and wanted to keep it just for themselves.Or they´d be able to suppress the joy and the happiness in their hearts originating from this personal encounter and from the personal relationship with God.
 
If I don´t have this longing in my heart it means that I´m lacking in some very essential part of Christianity.It means that although I´m baptized I didn´t experience the rebirth which Jesus talks to Nicodemus about and that is also the condition for entering the Kingdom of God.
 
The important thing is to know that the conversion doesn´t occur of its own accord.
If I don´t do something about it or I´m not accomodating toward God I´ll live my Christian life in a fruitless or sad way.My life won´t be very joyous, I´ll be morose, cantancarose or in a nutshell I won´t be converted.I don´t mean to put you under stress by telling you that you can´t catch up with it somewhere in the purgatory.The Lord might have created the purgatory for my Catholic Church when it started to baptize unconverted babies for their parents or godfathers´ faith so that it wouldn´t be able to make its sheep be converted in the future,         ( This last sentence is written with exaggeration, thank You;- )
 
                                                                                                 

 Ludvík Šojdr, January 2011

 

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