When most Catholics think of the word, “conversion”, they usually think of the process of becoming a Catholic, “converting” from another faith to Catholicism.
However, it has a totally different, more important meaning for one who IS Catholic, whether a “casual”, occasionally attending Mass on Sundays and some Feast days, infrequently communicating or confessing, and those who think of themselves as “devout” who routinely attend Mass when required, confessing and receiving Communion periodically, and participating in some aspects of parish life, oftentimes over a lifetime.
Most, if not all, of the first group, the “casuals”, NEVER achieve conversion to His Sacred Heart of Love. They don’t care. They don’t try. They don’t know how. Consequently, and unfortunately, they miss out on the graces and blessings total conversion brings, perhaps even jeopardizing their soul’s spiritual destiny. (With His help, everyone can change; why not try?)
Oddly enough, conversion, in its true meaning, is not often achieved even by many, perhaps most, of those who think of themselves as good, devout Catholics, even though many have spent years, doing everything the Church requires to be in good standing. They don’t achieve true conversion, because conversion to His Sacred Heart, in this spiritual sense, means much more than going through the motions of what the Church requires, even though they believe they are doing their best.
Achieving true conversion to total unity with His Sacred Heart of Love is a journey, a process. It starts with DESIRING this unity with Him, constantly, fervently, so intensely that He will, in time, sense this desire in us and may grant us this grace. Intense DESIRE gives us the motivation to diligently, continually SEEK Him, and, hopefully, to FIND Him, so that we may truly LOVE Him as much as we are humanely capable.
This process is summed up in the beautiful, short prayer of St. Anselm of Canterbury, a Doctor of the Church, which should be said every day:
Lord, Our God
Grant us the grace to desire you with our whole heart,
that so desiring, we may seek and find you;
and so finding you, we may love you;
and loving you, we may hate those sins
from which you have redeemed us.
We will be granted the graces of unity with His Heart, in proportion to the degree of our desire and our efforts to seek Him and truly love Him. What depth and degree of love does He ask for to achieve this unity? He said, to Sister Mary of the Blessed Trinity, a victim soul of the 20th century: “Love me more—oh, much more!—than human beings love one another.” And, “A love that does not exaggerate is not love, it is affection.” (M. T. nos. 134 and 544)
We are not to be discouraged, however, if we do not achieve all we wish in desiring and loving Him. He only expects us to do the best we can. As He has said to another holy nun, another victim soul of the 20th century, Sister Josefa Menendez: “I want souls so much to understand this! It is not the action in itself that is of value; it is the intention with which it is done.” (Emphasis added) (J.M., p.213)
He will supply whatever is lacking from His bountiful, loving Heart and thus perfect our desire and love for Him. Begin today to desire Him with your whole heart. May He grant you the grace to find Him and love Him as He wishes to be loved.
“To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances; to seek Him, the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement.” -St. Augustine
Quotations above are from the book, Words of Love by Fr. Bartholomew Gottemoller, O.C.S.O., Tan Books and Publishers, P.O. Box 410487, Charlotte NC 1-800-437-5876