Tuesday, June 21, 2011

True Conversion: One Heart at a Time (Especially Our Own)

   I wrote the following note to a friend who was worried about witnessing and evangelizing to family and friends:
   It’s a gift that we notice ways that we can bring our family and friends closer to God.  If we see it as a burden or as another area of life where we’re failing miserably, then we won’t be as inspired to make the effort.  If we concentrate on who God is instead of our shortcomings, then we’ll become better reflections of God’s love.  Spending time in communion with God, wanting His will more than our own, and letting Him do the spiritual cleansing we need to make us a better sanctuary or tabernacle for Him is the best possible way we can show others the Lord’s love. 
   God is the one who gives people the gift of faith.  No person can give faith in God to another person.  People can give facts and reasons, theology and emotions behind why they or others believe, but God alone gives people faith, and once they have faith, no further proof is really needed.  However without God’s gift of faith, no proof will be enough.  
   The Holy Spirit has placed in you a desire to bring others closer to God.
  Daily prayer time, frequent Reconciliation and Communion, are all part of what will put you in a better place to be a vessel for God’s love to move in and through.  Ultimately, what we want most is for those we love and care about to get to the point where they have a personal relationship with God and without your suggestion or guidance are seeking to deepen that relationship.
   I’ve really gone about things the wrong way sometimes when trying, hoping, and praying to bring others closer to God, but it all works out eventually.  It finally occurred to me to set out devotions and prayers for Kevin to read in addition to a love notes journal in which I write him a message each morning which he responds to before he leaves for work.  Clearly it was the Holy Spirit that inspired this, because I could have been doing this for a long time and not until I really committed to praying fervently and frequently that Kevin and I would be brought closer to God and one another did the idea come to me. 
   Looking back through the piles and piles of cards and letters I sent to Kevin over the years, I’d always include a Scripture verse, something spiritual I’d been thinking about, or something along those lines.  Now I see it as planting seeds.  The times in the past and even as recently as last weekend when I have gotten frustrated to the point of getting angry because Kevin hasn’t wanted to do something (Sat. it was go to Reconciliation) that I see as important and want for him to feel called to do, it’s shown me how much I can get in the way of things. 
   It’s not by judging Kevin, being angry, or feeling like I’m somehow in a better place spiritually because I feel compelled to go to Reconciliation and wanted to attend Mass Sat. morning in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe and he wasn’t so inclined.  Loving him and respecting him for where he happens to be with things right now is what’s best.  Basically what he’s doing for me is what’s best.  Kevin doesn’t necessarily understand or agree with how often I pray or what I am inspired to do to grow spiritually, but he respects my decisions and loves me regardless.  He doesn’t usually get angry at me because I want to do something he’s not into (Reconciliation, daily Mass when possible, reading spiritual books, meeting with a spiritual director).  My problem is that I do sometimes get angry at him when he doesn’t feel inspired to do something faith-wise that’s important to me.  Anger and pride were two of the main things I needed to go to confession about, and the situation with Kevin was something I asked forgiveness for because I  committed both sins.
   The thing is God’s forgiven me, and Kevin said even as he was driving to the Southside hobby shop (while I was going the other way to St. Mike’s for Reconciliation), he was thinking about how much he loves me.  How very humbling!!
   Basically, what I’m saying is, since we’re human we’re going to make mistakes when attempting to evangelize others, just like we don’t do anything perfectly.  If we go into situations knowing in our hearts and minds that the person we love and hope to bring closer to Christ has a beautiful spirit and soul, is already one of God’s beloved children even if he/she doesn’t know it, and that that person has some valuable things to teach us, then we will be much better off.  It’s when I forget these things, that I’m more likely to think I have all the answers when I never have and never will.
   You, Lord, are ALL I have, and You give me ALL I need.  My future is in Your hands.  Lord, I pray for Your will.  Lord, plant Your will in my heart and make it my deepest desire and most fervent longing…

     What I find most interesting (and humbling) is that all of the above aspects of witnessing and evangelizing family and friends are ones I still need to be reminded of a year and a half after I’ve written such suggestions to a friend. 
     Lord, thank You for Your amazing patience, forgiveness, and mercy for the many times when we continue to make the same mistakes, and You continue to love us anyway
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...