Have you ever tried to apply the Bible to your life? If you have, then you were missing the point and purpose of life. St. Benedict put it this way. Rather than apply the Christian way of life to our lives, we ought to apply our lives to the Christian way of life. Father Longenecker in “St. Benedict for Busy Parents” writes about conversion.
“Conversion means changing one thing to another, and conversion of life means that the monk’s life is changed from the old order to the new order. He is being converted out of himself into the image of Christ. The vow to conversion is no less than the vow to become a saint, for a saint is one who has been totally conformed into a unique icon of Christ.”
The hard work of conversion is personal change. We learn about the Bible, the Christian way of life, The Ten Commandments, The Sermon on the Mount not so that we can apply them to our lives, but so that our lives, our personalities, our thoughts, our emotions, our behavior, our wishes, our purposes can be shaped and conformed into the image of Christ. As St. Paul would say, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”
Conversion, growing in Christian holiness, is a life-long process that God accomplishes in us when we commit ourselves to living our lives, not the way we want, but the way God wants. We do our best to conform our lives to living a moral life. We make commitments to our family, friends, church, seeking not only to be prosperous, respected, happy, or to just live a good life, but to allow these commitments to mold us and shape us into the people God wants us to be, saints.
How many of us still have a second grade notion of the Eucharist, or a the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or a fourth grade notion of Confirmation? How many of us truly understand the mass? How many of us understand the Ten Commandments, or the Sermon on the Mount or the Bible, or Mary in a mature way? Can you describe sin? Can you speak fluently about having a personal encounter with Jesus, or share why you are Christian with others? Can you put up with frustration and suffering, on the promise of hope for a better life, conformed to Jesus?
Like a tree that dies when it does not grow and change, our life in Christ dies if we do not practice ongoing conversion. We continue to be created by God all our lives. We grow in holiness and become more like Christ. Choose the road of ongoing conversion.
“May the Lord bless and keep you. May he let his face shine upon you and give you his peace.”