A Reflection by Fred Schaeffer, OFS
To be "free and whole" as some popular religious songs go, is something to be hoped for. If people strongly desire to be "free and whole," we, as Catholics, know that it won’t come without sacrifice (effort, hard work and, yes, with pain) and daily conversion.
Daily conversion is necessary to counter the tendencies all humans have, because original sin, to weaken and fall. If we begin to see dangerous trends in our daily lives it is time to counteract those trends through that process known as daily conversion. It is really a continual striving to improve day by day.
This has all sorts of implications and applies to many situations. Some people have weaknesses in the area of the senses, sight, smell, taste, what one hears and then possibly reacts to, etc. There are people who see something and they are going to have it. Period. Then there are those who smell food and they can’t stop either with the result of obesity and other health problems. In today’s mundane world one hears lots of unnecessary talk. Also the endless, ad nausiam, repetition of the day’s news… we don't have to hear the news 15 times a day! No way. For me, once is already too much. If you bring too much of the world in, your prayer life becomes threatened. I could go on about negative trends or the misuse of the senses, but from what I’ve written, further examples are unnecessary.
In USA, at least near the larger cities, we are blessed with wonderful Catholic and Christian radio stations, broadcasting good stuff, prayers, light music, and the Word of God. Perhaps there is a Catholic station where you live. Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) also has a radio show and some of this can also be heard on short-wave frequencies. In any case, it is better to listen to Catholic stations than to secular radio stations. EWTN-TV is broadcast via the "Dish Network" and some of the local cable systems. It can also be received on the Internet with appropriate software and transmission speed. There is much good solid instructive material there. Best of all, people in nursing homes, or those bedridden for other reasons can watch the daily Mass on EWTN.
But getting back to daily conversion, there is plenty of distraction in our lives. By that I mean, there’s all sorts of interference that may lead one to questionable trends. Too much computer is not healthy. Why? Well, what happens when dinner is over… everyone runs to their room to their computer to surf (not aimlessly, I hope), to e-mail (It’s not necessary to copy in all our friends in all of the e-mails we send out) and what little family spirit that exists is again torn asunder because the folks in our household (our family) communicates through e-mail but they do not communicate to other family members, parents, siblings, brothers and sisters. They are all in a rush. Mother asks Johnny "Come finish dessert?" He responds, can’t Mom, gotta go. The door closes and he’s gone. Sound familiar? So in this area, too, there is room for improvement hence daily conversion. Think of conversion before it’s too late. When families quit talking, especially to each other, teenagers drop out of school, they "hang out," and God forbid, they get into drugs or alcohol. Chances are that they eventually end up in jail. It's sad...but if the family stays together, and prays together, and if daily conversion is taken seriously, there is hope that teens grow up into God-fearing, honest, hard-working young men and women, who become an asset to society!
Saint Francis of Assisi was once a rebel, who threw daily parties and drinking bouts with his rich friends. He landed in prison and it was there that God told him what was expected of Francis. You see, when we are down and out, when we're at out low point in life, it is then that God is able to get through because there are no more distractions in the way... it is then that he heals us, if we are receptive to that! You all know what a wonderful holy Saint, St. Francis became. He didn't become this overnight... it took daily conversion.
Let us pray that we may have the courage to amend our ways, turn to God, and with the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, strive for daily conversion. God loves you, each of you.
Fred S. Schaeffer, OFS
2011 added 8/4/2019
Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis
Divine Mercy Fraternity
Vero Beach, FL
Term expires: 2/10/2022
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Helen Caldarone, OFS
Mary "Jean" McGovern, OFS
Jack Reddy, OFS
Donna Haro, OFS
Joanne Giordano, OFS
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Five Franciscan Martyrs