Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity continue a series of posts on the topic of conversion. Sister Mary Frances Maher shares her thoughts.
When I think of conversion I usually think of a dramatic event that has happened in someone’s life, like St. Francis or St. Paul. However, as I have grown in my religious life, I’ve discovered that it is the daily events in my life which determine my own conversion. Yes, I do believe that God does permit a so-called turning point in our lives to bring us closer to Himself. But I also know that dying daily to my own will and saying yes to God’s plan, is also a way of conversion. I try to think of it as doing little things with great love as St. Therese, the Little Flower, did.
Living in Community gives me many opportunities for conversion. I may not agree with a decision, but I am open to what God has planned for me in a particular situation. This means that I pray daily for His guidance and direction in my life. Listening to what He tells me in prayer, spiritual reading, talking with others is how I know what He has in mind for me. Do I always follow Him? No, I’m not perfect, but the daily Eucharist gives me the strength I need to continue to try to be who God is calling me to be. Frequent Reconciliation allows me to see myself, to accept myself and know that God loves me with all of my faults and failings, encouraging me to be a better person.
Is conversion easy? No, as I said at the beginning, it is a daily struggle to do God’s will. It can also be a joy-filled experience as I gradually accept myself and allow myself to be the person God is calling me to be. Joy is knowing that I am a child of God and living that joy in all of my encounters. I hope to keep in mind that conversion is a gradual event, an opportunity to change for the better, to improve my life and to keep God at the center of my life.
All of what I have said relates to my vowed commitment. To put it in very simple terms: Poverty and Obedience are letting go of my will and what I don’t need to follow Jesus. Chastity is loving the Jesus in myself and others. St. Francis told us that he had done what was his to do, now it is time for me to do what is mine to do.