• Sarah Raad


A true conversion is the decision to spend all the days of my life seeking out my Beloved…

Saint Clare Driving Away the Infidels (Isidoro Arredondo)

I have been praying very much for people who are sick and suffering now – those who are recovering, those who are approaching death, and those who are victims of accidents that have significantly impacted their lives. And while I pray for these living pilgrims, I also pray for those dead, because as always, the Poor Lost Souls of Purgatory feature in my prayers – because as I am a sinner too – their sufferings are my sufferings and their sorrow, my sorrow…

It occurred to me today that while I have been praying for these souls my life has changed very much. At this time last year, things were different for me. Though I prayed a little every day, I did not use that time to TALK to my Beloved. I had no relationship with Him. For me, God was far and distant and I was here on Earth suffering under the shadow of His presumed displeasure… My prayers uttered from my lips alone. I did my duty. I did none of it with love.

How mistaken I really was. Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, ““We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” In my past, I could not even accomplish the smallest of things – because I understood nothing of love…

Poor poor God, to suffer so in waiting for me… I was like a baby who turned away and failed to understand that God was taking care of me.

Now I can finally see the truth for what it is. There is NOTHING bad, NOTHING terrible that could ever really happen because whatever happened – no matter how unimaginable or terrible it may appear – would be worked for the good and only for the GOOD…

Before I was afraid. I am not afraid now… What a transformation… What a conversion of faith… I can only attribute this to God. There is no other explanation.

Now, I follow the advice of Saint Clare of Assisi, the founder of the order of the Poor Clares of Assisi, and a Bride of Christ… “Look, look on Jesus, poor and crucified, look on this Holy One, who for your love has died, and remember as you contemplate the sacred mysteries, this Jesus whom you gaze upon, loves you most tenderly.”

Saint Clare of Assisi is amazing. Born into 12th century Italy, she petitioned Saint Francis of Assisi to be follow the rigours of his order and live in poverty, as the Franscian Friars did. Finally, she convinced Saint Francis that this could be done by women too, and not just men. And, during a time when such things were unheard of, the Poor Clares lived alone in the forests of Assisi without walls or guards or weapons to defend themselves from attack.

Once, when the town of Assisi was under attack by the Saracens and the convent was threatened without any defence at all, Saint Clare of Assisi having no other protector, took the Blessed Sacrament from the Tabernacle held up the Hidden Christ at the front front gate of their poor house. Though the town was raided, plundered and savaged, the Poor Clares were completely ignored by the invaders and escaped unharmed, despite having no human protection in that place.

Saint Clare of Assisi was so confident in the protection of her Spouse, that she held Him up as her ONLY hope. She relied only on the protection of her spouse…

Saint Pope John Paul II referred to those religious, like Saint Clare, who – being men and women ordained to Holy Orders – are brides of Christ. He called them a “sign raised among the nations to bear witness to the intensity of divine love revealed in Christ, especially in the gift He made of His own life.”

It is an ongoing gift because conversion does not merely happen once in a lifetime. It is the result of an ongoing commitment to continually deepen and broaden our understanding – our relationship – with God. Our conversion is ongoing for the entirety of our Earthly lives.

It is this ongoing nature of conversion which caused Saint John Vianney to warn, “One of the first things the devil always does is to make people stop praying.”

He is right… The other day, in speaking to someone very dear to me, who was dealing with terrible spiritual anguish, I heard words that I had so often repeated in my past life. She said, “My prayers don’t work... What’s the point of praying?... Nothing is ever going to change….” What was that other than evidence of the temptations of the Evil One to despair… If he can encourage us to stop praying, our conversion will stop. All that is required for our failure is our despair. Nothing more is required than that.

So, if you consider a conversion for what it truly is, you will see that it is an ongoing improvement, an ongoing reaching out – forever trying to reach Him – my Beloved… All the days of my life…

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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