Called to be Stretched

This post corresponds to the Mission Priority “Encounter”

Have you ever heard this definition of insanity? In·san·i·ty: Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

Change. Who likes change? Not very many people voluntarily jump in with two feet when they hear change is a-comin’. It is challenging, stressful, takes work, brings you out of your comfort zone, causes anxiety, and tries even your best virtues. But change is necessary and an essential part of our Catholic faith.

Another name for change: conversion.

We are constantly called to re-examine ourselves, to grow, to be stretched, to undergo continuous conversion. St. John Paul II in Ecclesia in America states that “In this life, conversion is a goal which is never fully attained: on the path which the disciple is called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, conversion is a lifelong task.” (EA, 28) Sounds a little daunting right? Wouldn’t it be easier to just keep things the same in our own lives, our families, and in our parishes? I’m sure Mary would have liked things to go a little differently and for Jesus to stay around on earth a little longer, but she trusted that God’s plan was greater than her own desires.

How does one cultivate a spirit of conversion? Pope Paul VI in Ecclesiam Suam states that conversion (he uses the word renewal) is a result of an encounter. When one has an encounter with our Jesus, like the woman at the well, one cannot help but be transformed. Something changes. Something is different. You are probably reading this because you’ve had at least one encounter with Jesus. But He wants more of us. He wants to go deeper. God wants to encounter you – or re-encounter you – today in a special way. There is grace in this openness. A grace that bears fruit. The fruit of ongoing conversion.

In this Ecclesia in America, St. John Paul II reminds us of metanoia, a change of mentality.

How is God challenging you in your personal life, your professional life and in your parish to venture out into the deep?

Do you feel a nudge to be stretched?

Are you open to being stretched or are you resisting a bit?

One last quote from Ecclesia in America: “Conversion, therefore, fosters a new life, in which there is no separation between faith and works in our daily response to the universal call to holiness.” (EA, 26)

Now, there’s something to look forward to! Let us take time on our knees to listen to how God may be stretching us.

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