Patrick Madrid is first up and did a nice job with a couple of jokes.
Starting with with 1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child …” . This is the theme for his talk – growing up to spiritual maturity, to being a man in Christ … really the definition of conversion.
Three particular types of conversion – spiritual, intellectual, and moral conversions. Speaking not as a bishop or priest, but from one layman to another.
Patrick himself is not a convert, but of course as a full-time apologist that’s not all that common these days. He was born and raised with Catholicism as an identity, not just a mask to put on every Sunday for an hour.
Wandered away from this into the music scene, drifting into narcism and worse. Eventually got married and then underwent a deep re-conversion to Jesus Christ through his Church. Lasted about a year, with a deep realization that he was only Catholic on the surface, but not inside.
He realized that in reality, he wasn’t really a Catholic, not really a man. Then he began a gradual process of examiniation and turning away from these things. By the last month he spent daily time doing a rosary in front of the Blessed Sacrament, seeking God and what his will would be for him.
Eventually that led him to the work of apologetics, and through the grace of God met up with Karl Keating as he founded Catholic Answers.
Then he started hearing many stories of profound conversion. Great story about an angry former Catholic who confronted him at a conference with an immense out of anger with the Church, eventually went back to confession and spewed out all of the venom of her past. When she permitted the Lord to heal her, then tons of great things happened.
Most Catholic adults have about an 8th grade education in the Catholic faith – i.e., most folks stop studying the faith at about confirmation.
That leads to enormous problems and complications – such as the inability to defend the faith, and many end up at a mega-church and unfortunately turn away from the fullness of the faith.
Good intentions, sincere hearts, just intellectually unprepared.
Take a cue from St. Francis deSales. He was assigned to a staunchly Calvinist, very anti-Catholic region in France (about 60-70 years after the reformation). He volunteered for the assignment to re-evangelize the area (at about 27). After much frustration he began to write tracts and distribute them … taking advantage of the new technology of the day (the printing press).
After a year or so of doing this people began attending his lectures, attend the sacraments, and so forth. In his lifetime he was responsible for almost 60,000 reversions to the Church.
This will determine how we act. In essence, this is the turning away from childish things and turning towards the things of God.
Could be pornography, anger, the way we treat our wives, children, absolutely anything that is not of the good things of God.
Confession is crucial in this, of course.
We need to do three practical things in the area of moral conversion.
- Not be afraid to live the truth. For example, the nearly universal dissension from the teaching on contraception. This is a serious sin – therefore mortal – and can (and will if un-reprented) lead people to hell. This is true for anything in which we dissent from the teachings of the Church.
- Not be afraid to speak the truth. Even when the situation may be uncomfortable. Great story about Fr. Corapi at a really dissenting parish. These are times when we simply need to be men. He finished with a great story of he and his wife witnessing to the truth of being opening to life – in gentleness and truth, hearts can be changed.
- Not be afraid to suffer for the truth. Are we willing to stand up for all of those in our lives who are being accosted by evil? Are we willing to jump in and do what’s right … even if we may suffer.
Finished with The Fellowship of the Unashamed.
I AM A PART of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.
The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I wonít look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is in Godís hands. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, the bare minimum, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, frivolous living, selfish giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, applause, or popularity. I donít have to be right, first, the best, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith. I lean on Christís presence. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with the power of Godís grace.
My face is set. My gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear.
I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give until I drop, speak out until all know, and work until He stops me.
And when He returns for His own, He will have no difficulty recognizing me. My banner is clear: I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.
Well worth pondering, and living.