The grace of conversion
I swear I have the best job in the world…! No sooner is Pentecost over than FOUR people show up at the presbytery this week wanting to become Catholics. How good is the Lord?! I found myself having the same chat with people again and again, finding out how they came to this point, getting to know a bit about them and explaining next steps. What a wonderful thing to be able to do.
For these people the journey they are beginning is reasonably clear before them. They come to sessions, they begin to live a Catholic life by coming to Sunday Mass and praying daily, they meet regularly with their sponsor. They go through the various liturgical rites when they are ready. The Church has developed a very wise, rich process which will mature and make firm the beginnings of their conversion.
However, sometimes I think that Catholics who lapse for a long time and then undergo the grace of conversion would also benefit from a similar process. Most Catholics have never received a thorough, systematic catechesis. Most Catholics have never had a faithful, well-formed person to meet with and share their spiritual journey. For most Catholics it’s a bit hit-and-miss, hot and cold. Wouldn’t most adult Catholics benefit from formation that is based on this catechumenate model? Their conversions could be made firm through a full and complete understanding of our Faith, and they would root themselves in the Liturgy which sustains the grace of their conversion.
I think this would be an incredible model for adult formation in parishes. It would make growth in holiness a real goal for ALL Catholics rather than just those Catholics who are rooted in a good movement or community which helps them grow in holiness. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if normal parishes could substantially help people grow in holiness too?