PARADOXICAL

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Friday, February 15, 2013

 

Lenten retreat reflection: Day 3 - Quick history of my big-time conversions

pp. 16-18 http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=EOg19fGyNyoC&pg=PA16&lpg=PP1&output=html_text

Since this section of the material is about the big-time conversion that big-name people have gone through, I am coaxed into reviewing my personal history. What were the big-time conversions that I had through which eventually led me down to the path of the day-to-day struggle to be a good Christian?

As far as I can remember, I never seriously doubted my faith. I don't know why that is so. My big sins were more like apostasy born of a rebellious heart. Anger at God, to be exact, mostly from my interpretation of God not giving in to my way or my requests. Childish reactions, in retrospect, but very human.

There was a time I stopped going to Mass, maybe because most everyone in our street didn't, particularly those inside my own home. My parents were no role models in terms of observing the sacrament, and I was swept away with them. This was less of a rebellion and more of plain laziness. I returned going to Mass by way of pure horror: only after meeting an accident, after I insisted on learning how to drive my friend's motorbike. My friend and I both ended up in a roadside ditch, with the bike visibly damaged. My friend seemed okay, while I was lucky to get only a sprain in my finger and a little cut and some bruises on my face. I admit this conversion story is a lousy one, for I was going back to God on account of fear; I feared God, as I interpreted the accident as His punishment for my rebellion.

My fear of God has a long history of its own: For the longest time, and totally unaware of it, I made the mistake of thinking that God was maybe like my own father, who I thought was harsh in his words and way of disciplining us his children. It was certainly a big turnaround to finally make the distinction that God is not my father, and it's also unfair for me to expect my father to be God, although it's but natural for children to model God after their own fathers. It's a great deal for me to have overcome such a misinterpretation, or to realize it at all. It means I have forgiven my father and have released him from my own expectations, even as I forgave myself for my own reaction, that of a child and his limited mind. It felt so good to forgive by enlarging my mind.

I had other serious sins (which I don't wish to reveal here) that I had also managed to overcome, thanks to the grace of God. With these defects, all it took me was the desire to change, the decision to be a good person, and God eventually honored that desire by granting me the grace of a turnaround, to the point of seeking the solace of confession, an idea that I grew up thinking to be something so scary.

It's good to recall these big-time conversions, for they are necessary in my faith walk.I wouldn't have come to this point of focusing on the little things if I was too preoccupied with overcoming the big things. The little things can prove to be harder to overcome, but I am joyful in the knowledge that I am no longer constantly fearing hell as my destiny (although I still have that fear time and again); I am mostly gunning for at least purgatory, where at least salvation is assured.

But what I'm really aspiring for is to learn to love God better, not out of fear, but out of authentic fondness for His way, out of real love. Trusting that God the Father understands well my background of brokenness, may He teach me to love Him back the right way.


Comments:
Thanks for your thoughts. I'm with you, dear brother in Christ :) Murphy's Law: Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer
 
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