S+L logo

“Pray for my conversion.”

March 12, 2007
"Pray for my conversion."
I remember coming across these words when reading about Brother Andre Bessette, the pious porter who was known as the miracle maker of Mount Royal, in Quebec.
It struck me as an odd statement.
Brother Andre, proclaimed blessed in May 1982, was a very holy man. How could a living saint ask someone to pray for his conversion"? He's already been 'converted'!
I think a lot of us, myself included, think of conversion as a one-time thing: “My conversion is when I was baptized and became Catholic,” “My conversion was when I returned back to the faith,” "I'm a cradle Catholic, I never converted!" etc.
But statements like the one attributed to Brother Andre remind us that conversion is a process that occurs over a lifetime. It's the act of looking at ourselves and discovering the obstacles that prevent us from growing closer to God. When we find those obstacles, we turn away from them and turn towards God.
Pope Benedict XVI also reminds us of the importance of conversion in his Sunday Angelus. He says that conversion is an effective means to counter evil:
Christ invites us to respond to evil first of all through a serious examination of conscience and with the commitment to purify our lives. … [Conversion], despite the fact it does not preserve us from problems and adversities, enables us to address them in a different "way." ...
In short, conversion overcomes evil at its root, which is sin, though it cannot always avoid its consequences.
So in seeing evil, we should not only be disgusted by it. But we should also look within ourselves to see if that form of evil, or what forms of evil, exist in our lives. When we see that evil, or that sin, we can uproot it; we can convert our hearts so that we shun such behaviour. Conversion doesn't mean that we will never experience evil or suffering, but it gives us a more positive way to deal with such experiences.
This is important advice from our Holy Father to consider during this season of Lent.
I'd like to conclude with the prayer to Our Lady that Pope Benedict recited in his Angelus:
Let us pray to Mary, who accompanies and supports us in our Lenten journey, to help every Christians to rediscover the grandeur, I would even say the beauty, of conversion. May she help us understand that to do penance and correct our conduct is not simply moralism, but the most effective way to improve both ourselves as well as society. An apt maxim explains it very well: It is better to light a match than to curse the darkness.
Related posts
Opening the Doors of Tenderness: The Lessons of Solanus and André
Two simple, holy doorkeepers This Saturday, along with Fr. Richard Fragomeni, I will have the privilege of being commentator for the Beatification Mass of Capuchin Friar Solanus Casey in Detroit’s F ...read more
Today as we celebrate the feast of St. André Bessette, join Father Thomas Rosica CSB, CEO, Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, for an inspiring reflection on the remarkable life of Saint André ...read more
Let’s go to Montreal!
This week I traveled to Montreal with my co-worker, Karen D’Souza. We were excited to check out Salt + Light’s new pied-à-terre and reconnect with our co-workers in person (there really i ...read more
Joseph: The Faithful and Wise Servant, a reflection by Fr. Thomas Rosica
St. Joseph is not the biological father of Jesus, whose Father is God alone, and yet he lives his fatherhood fully and completely.  He is often overshadowed by the glory of Christ and the purity of M ...read more
Tonight on Perspectives: It’s Monday and Catholics in Montreal have much to celebrate today. We tell you why. Prince George has a new Bishop and a look at the Vatican from this past weekend. ...read more