Hearing and Responding to God's Call.
Earlier we referred to continual conversion as a circle in upward spiral. Let's now look at the revolutions in that spiral.
The first revolution begins with hearing and responding to God's call. Consider for a moment the person who becomes a Christian, or a Christian who becomes a Catholic. Over, usually a very short period of time, everything changes. There are changes in how we think of ourselves, who we are, what we do and do not do. It changes our environment, our friends, how we spend our time, and possibly what we do for a living or where we work. It changes our relationships. If single, it may change what we seek in a mate. And, if married the change will affect our spouse and our family. These are dramatic changes. We accept and pursue these changes, perhaps not fully aware of the consequences, because we have been touched by the Love of our Father – our true Father – the One who formed us in the womb.
Or consider Jonah, a devout Jew, who God called to go to the Ninevites. The Ninevites were enemies of Israel. Jonah did not want to go. He fought with God, and tried to flee. He was cast overboard and swallowed by a whale. The whale in the story represents a danger, an overwhelming force. But, in this case the whale carried Jonah to safety. And so, Jonah reluctantly went to Nineveh, proclaimed the message of the Lord, and all the people, including the King, repented in sackcloth and ashes.
Many times, in our continual conversion, if we truly listen, we will be moved by the Love of God. It may be as simple as seeing a need and responding. It may be as quiet as a whisper, or as loud as thunder. But regardless of whether it is something desired or something resisted, know that the Lord is in charge. And if we succeed, or even if we fail, know that God is preparing us as His disciples. Unlike the lazy servant in the Gospel who buried his talent, it is better to have tried and failed, than to not have tried at all.
Our Good Lord said to Jeremiah, who resisted being God's spokesman for most of his life, “I know well the plans I have in mind for you, ... plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.1 ” Continual conversion always requires having ears open the the Lord and trusting in His Guidance. And may we always respond as Mary did in saying, May it be done to me according to Your Word.”2