Progressive Conversion

Have we made Christianity to difficult? Have we made movements like Cursillo, Via de Cristo, Walk to Emmaus, Kairos and others, too structured and too difficult to understand? We often hear in life to use the “kiss method” (keep it simplestupid). Have we forgotten to do that? These movements, and for that matter Christianity itself, seek one main thing, to change all environments for Christ. They seek to do this one person at a time. In others words these movements are directly aligned with our most basic baptismal calling to live a life in Christ and to bring others to Christ. Therefore, whether or not you have made one of these weekends does not change the message I share today. This message is for all Christians.

Simplicity is key: 1) people are hurting and lost 2) people need God 3) God’s method and design is that those who are lost and are seeking Him can find Him through Jesus 4) As Christians we are called to make the Christ in us real, present, and alive to others so that through Christ they come to know God. 5) In order to make Christ present to others He must first be present in us.

I believe that all people were made in God’s image and likeness, and as a result of this we have a natural innate GPS system that is pre-programmed towards God. In other words, we have a natural desire to love and be loved and God alone IS LOVE. However, although we may have a pre-programmed orientation towards God, many people are still very lost and have no personal relationship with Him. These people long for a true encounter with God. So if the people we meet in the normalcy of our everyday lives are going to know God they need to encounter God through Jesus in us. Will they?

We are all familiar with the phrase, “You can’t give what you don’t have”. So then, we ourselves must first be transformed in order to allow Christ to touch others through us. We are called to live a life of continual and progressive personal conversion. We are called to live a life in grace. If we do this, then God in us, through us, and with us can truly be alive, real and near for others to encounter.

Here is an interesting statement to ponder: “If others truly encountered Christ in us, they would never need to go on a Cursillo or other similar weekend, because that is the purpose of the weekend to allow others to have an encounter with Christ.” When others meet you do they encounter Christ? Do they experience His love?

Our calling as Christians does not call us to “do”, but rather, it calls us to “be”. We must live what is fundamental to being Christian. Ephesians 4:22-24tells us:“that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires,and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth”

So then, ifwe are called to bring Christ to others by first undergoing our own continuous and progressive conversion, we must take time to always be studying ourselves. The Johari window is a technique created by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955, used to help people by better understanding their relationship with self and others. It tells us that we all have:

  1. Things that we and others both know about us.
  2. Things about us that we know that no one else knows.
  3. Things others know about us they we don’t know about ourselves.
  4. Things that neither us nor others know about us.

I personally prefer to define this last area differently as “things that only God knows about us.” We should pray that God will reveal our true selves to us. We should, in our weekly gatherings with other Christians, challenge each other to spend time not just studying to know God, but also to study and discuss what God is revealing to us about us. By doing this we can assure that our Christian journey is one of progressive growth.

The method of piety and study gives us the ability to then carry out the true Christian action of bringing others to Christ through a genuine Christ centered friendship.Study and prayer are like glasses, they are meant to correct our vision when looking at ourselves. Our personal, internal conversion will then allow us to give others that encounter with the Christ in us that they so desperately are seeking.

We must always seek to “be Christian”, to have Christ dwell in us so that others can come to know God through Christ in us. Wouldn’t it be a tragedy if todaysomeone we meet, who is seeking to encounter Christ, simply instead only encounters us?

Brian Pusateri
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