“Know that the greatest service that man can offer to God is to help convert souls.” St. Rose of Lima
Recently we had visitors from Italy. We have known them for many years, and they had helped me draw closer to the experience of Communion and Liberation over the years as well. It is very important to see faces of people who bring Christ closer to you. Recounting experiences we had in common recalled how the early Christians were visited by the early missionaries in the Roman Empire. I wonder how happy they were in each community back then when a letter from St. Paul would arrive. How comforted they must have felt when St. Paul would send someone to help them understand their faith more and more! How hungry these early Christians must have been for their faith. I remember the early days of the community where I live and how so many of our visitors from abroad would come and stay with us and help us. We did not realize it then, but they were planting seeds of faith that would grow.
“Our Lady came to see us and said that soon she would come and take Francisco to heaven. And she asked me if I still wanted to covert more sinners. I told her yes.” Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Maria
I see different people at morning mass who only ask for a blessing and do not take Holy Communion. They have their reasons, but I wonder if they are catechumens on the journey of faith. I went to a new parish one Sunday recently out of convenience and I met the priest who was from the US South. He told us his experience of being a minority faith in the region. It only makes you want to persevere more. In the Magnificat booklet for daily mass that I use, I read about Monsignor Knox who was a British Anglican Priest for five years before he entered the Catholic Church and became a priest for the Church. His father, an Anglican bishop, was disgusted and disinherited his son. Knox wrote in a passage, “Dazzled by Christ,” how the Apostles were called and did not utter a word but followed. They met something beautiful – the met someone who had a gaze on them that they might not understand but needed to follow. Are we dazzled by Christ in the people we meet? I wonder how faithful I would be if Christ asked me to drop my fishing nets and follow.
“Earthly riches are like the reed. Its roots are sunk in the swamp, and its exterior is fair to behold; but inside it is hollow. If a man leans on such a reed, it will snap off and pierce his soul.” St. Anthony of Padua.
We go to mass; we recognize our feast days, and we try to live a piety. But there are so many challenges in front of us in a society that does not seem to understand the Church. However, I throw my anchor on the Lord. He will not disappoint us because we might not be faithful, yet He is for sure. I do not think I can go around shouting on street corners about Christ. But surely, others around us need to see the light that only Christ brings in the world. The Carmelite nuns near me do not leave their cloister yet they are still signs for us – lanterns on a hill. Actions do speak louder than words and if we are called to conversion, then others might just follow.
“Each generation is converted by the saint who contradicts it most.” G.K. Chesterton