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Pope Benedict XVI on St. Augustine and conversion

Pope Benedict used the occasion of his visit to the Lombardi Dioceses of Vigevano and Pavia to speak of conversion, specifically the conversion of St. Augustine. This from the Catholic News Agency:

The Pope continued by expressing his desire to list the three great steps on this path to conversion. The first fundamental conversion, he said, is the interior journey towards Christianity—that is, the desire to want to know Christ.

The second conversion is described by St. Augustine at the end of the second book of his Confessions. After having been baptized, St. Augustine returned to Africa and there he founded together with his friends, a small monastery. However, the second step was his being called to live with Christ for all. He had to translate his knowledge and sublime thoughts into the language and thinking of the simple people of his city.

Citing his humility as the third decisive step on St. Augustine’s path to conversion, the pope told those present that Augustine ahd found the highest level of humility…the humility to recognize that the bountiful mercy of God was continually necessary for himself and the entire pilgrim Church.

Benedict ended his homily by thanking God for the great light that shines forth from the wisdom and humility of St. Augustine. The Holy Father prayed that the Lord give all of us, day by day, the necessary conversion and lead us towards true life.

I love this acknowledgment that conversion is a continual process and not just a lightning bolt from the sky. The lightning bolt may start us down the conversion pathway, but we must continually seek a deeper knowledge and understanding of our faith and translate this knowledge into daily actions. We must always humbly recognize that all we have is a gift from our most merciful Father.

During this season of confirmations, we need to remind our newly confirmed of our lifelong mission to grow in faith. Confirmation is a Sacrament of Initiation—a beginning. It is not a graduation. We must never grow complacent and think our faith is “good enough”. There is always room for further conversion.


Ebeth said…
Denise, Your writing is impeccible. This is the reason I wanted to start my blog and become a Master Catechist, so that I can help in this mission of continued education for existing Catholics. My husband is not a Catholic and have been praying to St. Monica for years!!!!! Maybe you can add him on your list of prayers too?
still climbing!
Anonymous said…
Excellent homily from the Holy Father. I think many people are discouraged when their conversion doesn't "take" and fall by the wayside. They don't see that it takes a lifetime and has setbacks. And no one illustrates this better than St. Augusine.


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