I admit it; I’m a sucker for conversion stories. I love the story of a man who sits down with an elderly Catholic priest and hears the story of a marriage where the wife is a good and holy woman, but the husband is an athiest. Every day the wife prays for her husband but throughout their marriage he remained atheist. Felix Lesseur was set in his ways and the prayers of his wife did not move him. When she died he discovered her diary and the love and pain and prayer that she had poured out to God.
“Did he come to you this Felix?” asks the man of the priest and the priest smiles and says, “I am Father Felix Lesseur.”
Many people, including me, have asked why God will work in one person’s life by knocking them off a horse, while others seem to have to search for Him over years, sometimes seemingly in vain.
In all the conversion stories I have read, watched or listened to there is a great sense of peace, of having come home at last. For those who have come from protestant backgrounds there is always a great sense of gratitude that they had that early Christian foundation, even from those who grew up with anti-Catholic rhetoric ringing in their ears.
On the opposite side there is always some anger and hatred when people abandon the Church for a Christian-light version of religion so that they are no longer constrained by Christ’s moral law. Immoral sexual practice is almost always at the root of this whether it’s divorce and “remarriage” or some other form of adultery or they walk away from Christ because of some Judas they have come across.
The real shameful thing about those who walk away from the Faith is those who do so because, despite being baptised they have never been taught. When we, as parents, take our children to be baptised we make a solemn oath to bring them up in the Faith. If we don’t even try we are breaking the Second Commandment for no one should stand in the Name of God and take an oath in vain.
But those who walk back or find Him are always so full of peace.
written on the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul in the Year of Faith.