Plumbing the Depths: Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer

Lenten Reading:

deepconversion

On the dedication page of the book, there’s a quote from Blessed John Paul II, which he addressed to the Austrian bishops, but is quite applicable to us as parents.

“Your first duty as pastors is not projects and organizations, but to lead your people to a deep intimacy with the Trinity.”

I am not a pastor, but this one sentence encompasses our homeschool’s mission — to raise saints for God. And I cannot raise saints for God, if I am not, myself, on the way to becoming a saint.

On the first page he talks about St. Bernard of Clairvaux:

At about the age of twenty he entered the Cistercian order, bringing thirty other men along with him…. Bernard united among his many talents fearlessness and tenderness, a rare combination. The saint was a man of profoundly deep prayer and love for God — which, of course, translated, as it always does, into a genuine love for the people in his life.

I immediately think of my children, and our saints who were called to be wholly His at a very young age. My job as a mom is to see that the fearlessness and tenderness that come naturally to my children aren’t lost. A lot of that has to do with atmosphere in the home, impressing upon my kids the need to always be in communion with their Creator, to light a fire such that LOVE becomes their goal in all that they do. As parents we are not only called to light that fire but to keep it burning bright. My husband has set the bar high, as from the beginning he is the one person in the house who dies to self every single day, in order to serve us. This Lent would be an entirely fruitful one if we but follow his example, our very own alter-Christus right here in our domestic church.

There are more people converted from mortal sin to grace, than there are religious converted from good to better.

Once again I am brought to the heart of every Christian’s struggle. As I reflect on my work as wife, mom, pro-lifer, I am hit with the reality that it is easier to be faithful in the big things than it is to be faithful in the little things. The five non-negotiables: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning, same-sex “marriage” — these are the giants, and as a Catholic/Christian, it is easy to feel good when I can say, I am against all of those.

At the same time, other than abortion, I have not really been forced to face a situation where I’ve had to make a choice. I am not dealing with a dying parent. I don’t have a disease that would necessitate the use of stem cells. God gave us five kids such that cloning is a very distant concept for me. I’m already happily married. My personal response to these battles for the most part is already a given.

Those issues seem to be giants, particularly because at every election we are reminded of them. But it’s easy to be fooled.

The real giants are the things I encounter in my daily life: what’s in front of me, right here, right now.

The getting up in the morning to prepare breakfast for the family.
The commitment to prayer and alone time with God every single day.
The patience to deal with pressing needs of the children and adults I am privileged to serve, right here in my home.
The call to say yes to the voice at my side instead of the voice at the other end of the line.

And so I am here to plumb the depths of my commitment to my Lord. It is almost effortless to be faithful on the surface. It doesn’t take much to say, I am against any and all forms of abortion. It is harder to decide to fold laundry or start dinner when a pro-choice/pro-life debate beckons online.

To raise saints, I need to be able to model this faithfulness in the little things. That’s what deep conversion and deep prayer is all about.


I am doing this little project with a dear Catholic friend who’s reading the book with me, and posting his own reflections at his blog. We are 13 hours apart, but share a love of the Lord and a passion for the pro-life movement. I am very honored to share this journey with him, and I look forward to learning from him as well as from Fr. Dubay.

5 comments

  1. Rogie says:

    A very timely reflection, stef. I remember when we had our pre-cana seminar. We were told about the responsibilities of the man and wife in the house. As a husband, the speaker said that we’ll act as the “priest” in our domestic church.

    That moment, my wife looked at me. I know what she’s thinking by that time. and she knows that i know what she’s thinking about. and we both smiled.

  2. stef says:

    Yes, I think this is what’s missing from many households these days. Men don’t know how to be the spiritual leader of their households, or women won’t allow them to take on that role. It’s a major loss for all parties concerned, and doesn’t bode well for future generations, unless we change things now.

    Thanks for dropping by, Rogie 🙂

  3. dboncan says:

    Hi Stef, Friends,
    If envy is a sin then I’m guilty of it to a huge degree! I envy the time (and concentration) you are able to devote to going through these kinds of spiritual material. I’ve labored with The Practice of the Presence of God and have not been able to get passed 2 chapters, least of all being able to put them into practice in the way I would want it to. But to persevere especially this lent… Thanks for sharing this!

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