July 25, 2017 – “Dear children! Be prayer and a reflection of God’s love for all those who are far from God and God’s commandments. Little children, be faithful and determined in conversion and work on yourselves so that, for you, holiness of life may be truth; and encourage each other in the good through prayer, so that your life on earth may be more pleasant. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
Reading this message from Our Lady has got me thinking about conversion. I find great encouragement in the Blessed Mother’s words when looking at the daily highs and lows of conversion.
We are all called to live daily conversion, but sadly many don’t. For one, because they believe it to be some one-day process with zero obligations, like signing up to a gym. And secondly, because they’re not ready to put God’s will ahead of their self-will and the world.
Let’s be real here: conversion isn’t a walk in the park.
It’s not a uniform you wear or hang up whenever you please. You can’t just call yourself a Christian, believe that’s enough, and then live a life totally removed from God.
Conversion is a journey, and it requires every part of you. We make sacrifices, renouncing sin, worldly ideas and treasures. We lose our former lives in the world, but we gain new life with God!
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?” [Mark 8:34-36]
Conversion is choosing to follow Jesus out of love for Him, desiring to be united with Him, to strive to do His will, and to live for Him first. And when we begin to do this that is when begin to look, and even feel different.
December 2, 2013 – My children, the Father comes to be known through the cross. Therefore, do not reject the cross. Strive to comprehend and accept it with my help. When you will be able to accept the cross you will also understand the love of the Heavenly Father; you will walk with my Son and with me; you will differ from those who have not come to know the love of the Heavenly Father, those who listen to Him but do not understand Him, those who do not walk with Him – who have not come to know Him.
We look, act, and feel different because God’s grace is at work within us. Our hearts are being formed for Him, and our decisions in life begin to be based on our choice of loyalty to God. This, of course, doesn’t always sit well with others.
Friends, even family members, may not understand, which is difficult for us. They might even feel offended by it, thinking you don’t love or care about them anymore. Of course, this isn’t true. Living for God never means you stop loving others. If anything, it means you love more because you desire for them to share in God’s grace, too! Also, at times, you will feel animosity from the world for choosing God. But remember, if we lose our life, we will find it! If the world hates you, be glad! It means you’re on the right track!
“If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. [John 15:18-21]
Our Lady sees our trials and hardships. She knows sometimes living for God means others will reject or misunderstand us. She knows how much it can hurt or confuse us when we experience that. But Our Lady has hope in us, she sees our potential, and reminds us to forge ahead for our good and the good of others.
Little children, be faithful and determined in conversion and work on yourselves so that, for you, holiness of life may be truth; and encourage each other in the good through prayer, so that your life on earth may be more pleasant.
Be faithful and determined!
Go forward. Don’t go back.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. [Hebrews 12:1-3]
Our lives are meant for God alone, and united with Him our lives will indeed be more pleasant. Our burdens are not carried alone because Jesus is with us always! He is in control. And our conversions will be those sign-posts for others around us who haven’t yet come to know God.
Be prayer and a reflection of God’s love for all those who are far from God and God’s commandments.
Don’t give up on your daily conversion. No matter what, keep at it. Even if you fall sometimes, get right back up. If God sometimes permits us to go through struggles, it’s because He wants us to be stronger and to trust Him better.
Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. And living for and with Jesus is worth more than any of the riches on earth! For whoever loses their life (former things) will gain life with Him Who redeemed us!