Conversion and prayer

Years ago a friend of mine recommended Fr. Thomas Dubay’s Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer. This book was a response “to the call by both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI to help believers and all those interested in spirituality develop a deeper prayer life and union with God.” It’s a satisfying and worthwhile read, especially for any young person. It’s an easy read at little more than 100 pages.

Fr. Dubay hits on themes some of us will have heard before, but manages to offer a fresh and penetrating perspective on how we connect (or fail to connect) to God in our lives. At its heart, Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer issues a call to saintly living—to  experiencing the fullness of God as a trinity of persons. This sounds daunting and strange (and it is) but Fr. Dubay reminds us that we are all called to saintliness.

Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer is filled with passages that call for a highlighter and reflection, but among what I remember as some of the most thoughtful are the following excerpts.

  • Despite the faults of individual members who fail to live up to what they profess, thoughtful people recognize that the only fair way to judge any institution is according to its principles and the example of those who live in accord with them.
  • There are two roots of conflicts in human communities in which people live closely on a daily basis. One is a lack of shared vision regarding the basic principles undergirding our destiny and inter-relationships. … The second root of discord is … egocentrism in its innumerable forms.
  • “C.S. Lewis, speaking of an ordinary family, was on target when he remarked, “There cannot be a common life without a regula [rule]. The alternative to rule is not freedom but the unconstitutional (and often unconscious) tyranny of the most selfish member.”
  • Saint Paul put the matter perfectly twenty centuries ago: “Whether you eat or drink or do anything else, do all for the glory of God. (1 Cor 10:31).
  • A real assent to a proposition includes the intellectual acceptance of it plus the concrete carrying out of it in the nitty-gritty of daily life, that is, making this truth part of one’s personal reality.
  • “To bear anything joyfully, thanking the Father…!” It is easy to see in this one verse how and why the saints are moral miracles: their goodness and beauty far surpass the natural capacities of human nature.
  • [The] Church is affirming that all of her children are called to be saints, profoundly converted to the highest degree of sanctity. No other worldview presents and proclaims so beautiful and lofty an ideal of what man can become — indeed should become.

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