|Caravaggio's Conversion of Paul|
"Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea, which were in Christ: But they had heard only: He, who persecuted us in times past, doth now preach the faith which once he impugned: And they glorified God because of me."
In a few sentences, Paul expresses the organic quality of conversion. Even one who tries to destroy the faith can be a source of inspiring the faith.
Catholics believe in conversion. But for us, it is not that ONE BIG MOMENT where you have to make the choice or forever be damned. Conversion unfolds over a lifetime. It ages and matures with us. Paul would say in the first letter to the Corinthians:
"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."
Conversion is growth and growth makes us more childlike, not childish. Jesus says we must be as children to enter His Kingdom. There is a difference.
In the book, "A Prayer for Owen Meany", the author, John Irving, begins the novel repeating Paul's letter:
“I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice – not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.”
Owen Meany is a child and remains so throughout the book. He's a child with a strange, peculiar voice. He considers himself God's messenger. His faith is solid. He believes and brings the author to belief. In one scene, Owen is confident that his small frame can make a difficult basketball shot. His words are in CAPS to show his powerful voice.
"YOU SEE WHAT A LITTLE FAITH CAN DO?" said Owen Meany. The brain-damaged janitor was applauding. "SET THE CLOCK TO THREE SECONDS!" Owen told him.
"Jesus Christ!" I said.
"IF WE CAN DO IT IN UNDER FOUR SECONDS, WE CAN DO IT IN UNDER THREE," he said. "IT JUST TAKES A LITTLE MORE FAITH."
"It takes more practice," I told him irritably.
"FAITH TAKES PRACTICE," said Owen Meany
Faith takes practice. Practice it today. You may inspire someone else to give glory to God...because of you.