Conversion Is Only The Beginning
In November, the Church focuses on the “life to come” aspect of Christianity. Days that commemorate the communion of saints and the faithful departed launch us into the month. The feast of Christ the King, which proclaims that the redemptive work of God is destined to embrace the life of the universe, follows.
What does this have to do with each of us? Is Christ leading and guiding me in my life, in my parish’s life? How can I practice what is important with Christ?
Authentic self-examination requires courage, discipline, and risk-taking.
We must summon the courage to wrestle with the truth about ourselves instead of focusing on work or play. Diversion is a wonderful thing, but long-lasting change happens only if we have the courage to uproot long-standing false self-perceptions.
It takes discipline to commit to the process that brings to light our assumptions about our motives and actions. Rooted in hope that a fuller life awaits us on the other side, discipline is absolutely essential to carry us through conversion.
Risk-taking enters the equation when we compare our self-perception with the perspective of a trustworthy person. It’s a significant rite of passage to open up to another person and be honest about whom we’ve harmed and how we haven’t learned to deal healthily with out-of-control emotions or put in check distorted thinking. Done with candor, those conversations can lead to significant insights about the sinful human condition we share.
But the spiritual life goes deeper than emotional or psychological issues. Jesus is clear that the kingdom of God begins with conversion in each of us, and conversion means an honest look at how we live…and act…and react.
November, it turns out, has a lot to say about the Christian task of letting God’s message embrace our past, present, and future.