Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Real Change of Heart

St. Paul experienced the kind of metanoia (a complete change of heart) that very few people in the history of the world have known.  He went from trying to destroy the followers of Jesus' Way to becoming one of the greatest evangelists of Jesus' Way.  This change of heart allowed him, in his zeal, to see the best in the Church in her infancy, rather than seeing the worst in it.  He had to see the value of the Church rather than her threat to the established religion.

Sometimes that kind of vision is all we need to knock us down.  A real change of heart demands that we are stopped in our tracks and that we are given a new vision.  It is so easy for us to see the worst in people.  We are often too quick to see the worst in ourselves.  That kind of image of the world is destructive because it blinds us to seeing the truth of God's love and the dignity of human life. 

If you think about it, we don't need that dramatic shift St. Paul experienced in order to share in his change of heart.  We just need to allow the voice of Christ to open our eyes.  Sometimes this can be one of my most fervent and fruitful prayers.  I am not a morning person, and a lot of days my attitude can be quite sour.  Being the kind of person who wears his emotions on his sleeves, if I'm not in a good mood, people are going to know it - even though I don't want them to.  So, the first thing I have to pray for is trust, I have to ask God to help me change my attitude and that prayer is said before I even put my feet on the floor.  It really works.  There is no faking it through the day.  My real commitment is being the best that I can be in my attitudes toward myself, the work I'm called to do, and in those I have been asked to serve.  No one deserves the worst I have to give.  Rather, I must see the proclamation of the Good News of God's love for the world as the best mission for my day.  If it isn't in me, it can't be done.  If I'm not willing to embrace it in myself, I can't give it away.  And so I pray that I can see the best of who I am - a child of God - one who is to hear and speak the Gospel to the world.  I believe that is our mission too.

May God bless you on this Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

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