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Conversion: Thoughts from Pope Benedict XVI

“To be converted” is not to seek after one’s own success, not to seek after one’s own prestige, one’s position. “To be converted” means to stop constructing a personal image, not to work at constructing a monument to oneself, which could often end up becoming a false god. “To be converted” means accepting the suffering of truth. Conversion demands that truth, faith, love become not in a general way, but day by day, in the little things, more important than our physical life or than comfort, success, prestige, and tranquility in our lives. In fact, success, prestige, tranquility and ease are those false gods which largely impede truth and true progress in private and in public life. By accepting this priority of truth we follow the Lord, we take up our cross and share in cultivating love, which is to Cultivate the Cross.

--Pope Benedict XVI, Journey to Easter

Pope Benedict XVI presents this passage as an examination of conscience. When have I cut corners in practicing my faith for the sake of my own success, prestige, tranquility, or ease? When have I stayed silent because speaking the truth might “ruffle some feathers”? When have I worked to be “discreet” about my faith for fear of offending?

Living, as we do, in a culture that worships “diversity and tolerance”, the assertion of an absolute truth is often viewed as bigoted or narrow-minded. The reality is the Truth of Christ is true freedom and truly inclusive. The Truth of Christ transcends politics, race, gender, and any other man-made divisions. How can we justify hiding this Truth for a moment of earthly ease when to do so jeopardizes an eternity of true love and peace?


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