Feast of Saint Augustine
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
The Feast we celebrate today, that of St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, calls to mind the picture of one who spent most of his life undergoing a conversion process. The life of this brilliant and worldly student of philosophy was not without a struggle until at long last, with God’s grace, Augustine humbly accepted Christ.
Augustine wrote in his Confessions, "You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you…You were with me, but I was not with you." How often do we search outside for God’s grace and peace? How often do we spend hours, days, even a lifetime searching for the relief that comes with accepting Christ. We build our own little kingdoms centered on wealth, status, prestige, thinking these will lead to that satisfaction we so earnestly desire.
Recently our RCIA team met to prepare to welcome the new inquirers into the RCIA process. The conversation centered around, ‘What Do I Believe About Conversion’? A lively discussion ensued in response to the questions, ‘Is conversion private or public, Kept quiet or celebrated, Slow to happen or quickly, May occur only once or many times in a lifetime, Is a change of heart or mind?’ Other questions: ‘Does it affect only parts of one’s life or all of our life, Does it lead us to question our faith more or does our faith become stronger in the process. Is it orderly or messy, Does it happen in church or out and lastly, Does conversion happen in daily living or only at prayer?’
We discovered everyone’s conversion story is different with some similarities and like experiences. Conversion happens when we open ourselves up to letting God be God and embracing all that comes with being a faithful servant of God’s. Jesus reminded his disciples: ‘Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come." We are all called to do the same!
Theresa Secord is a Pastoral Associate at St. Agnes Parish, Louisville, Kentucky.