Thursday, December 12, 2013

Conversion - The Integrity Project

Hello Ladies,

A Christian talking about conversion can be a tricky thing. It conjures images of annoying people ringing your doorbell during a nap time to tell you that you are going to hell unless you follow their beliefs. It implies disrespect for your way of life and the values that you as an intelligent person hold dear. It violates the 'live and let live' mentality that is the basis for any free society. The words "guilt", "intolerance", "manipulated" and "theocracy" come to mind. I live in a secular society. I know how it goes. I am free to be Catholic as long as nobody knows about it. On the other hand I'm not of the belief that you have to follow my way or you're going to hell either.

So, being a Catholic who doesn't bang on doors and doesn't believe that you are going to hell because you are not rattling those rosary beads, what have I got to say about conversion?

That you have been created for the sole purpose of being loved and loving in kind. 

That's it.  Ok - one more thing:

If you knew how much you are loved you would cry for joy.

You are not some sort of cosmic accident. You are not here to "make others happy". You are not here to fill some dogmatic idea of what it is to be a woman (whether the dogma be religious or secular). You are unique in all of creation. You will only be on this earth for a short time. You are here because at the moment of your conception, possibly before, God could not imagine anything more beautiful and perfect than you. You were created to be loved by God and to love God in return.

Let me tell you a story about a man I met when I was a child. I don't really remember what he was like before this incident. He was an acquaintance of my father and he was involved in international real estate. He was very, very good at it. [Author's note: The following is a summary of what this man told my father in my hearing.]

One day I was closing a deal in Rome. My host took me to see the architecture at St. Peter's Square. [This man was an atheist.] I was standing there when there was some commotion and... I found myself face to face with Pope John Paul II. No exaggeration. The pope smiled at me and started speaking to me in Italian. My host began to translate. Hearing the English, John Paul II immediately switched languages and began asking me questions about myself. ("Why would the pope care about me? With all those Catholics standing around, too!") When the pope heard I worked in international real estate, he became very excited and said "God has heard my prayers! I am so happy to meet you. You are the one. Think of the poor. They have no homes. They need you. The need you now. I am praying for you!" 
Well, what could I do after that? The pope was praying for me by name for crissakes. Told me that God had placed me there. Didn't even tell me to go to church. Guess there's more to life than making money.

A few years later my father heard that this man had been heckled at a real estate conference for giving a talk about social justice while making money. Last I heard this man still made money but he was truly happy for the first time in his life.

You are loved. You are unique in all of creation. If you knew how much you are loved you would cry for joy. You are who and where you are for a reason. Do not let others quantify you. You are without price and loved constantly without cost. You are irreplaceable. You have dignity which others cannot take from you. You are beloved of God.

If I have one prayer it is that one day you will truly believe this.

May God continue to bless you!

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