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On Conversion

Glory be to Thee, Eternal Father, for “in thy light we see light,” and thou hast sent Thy Son, the “Light which enlightens all men.” All creatures, proceeding from Thee, have fallen into the darkness of sin and death. In the disordered passions of my soul, I served and loved proximate goods, proximate beauties, proximate truth without reference to Thee, Super Supersubstantial Being in whom all these goods, beauties, and truths participate in, having their being from. In the contemplation of these, I was to return to Thee, yet, as Thy saint, St. Francis de Sales wrote, I “confused the means for the end.” Yet, in Thy grace, I imperfectly participated in that fullness of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty that is Thy very essence. I proceeded, yet deeper and deeper into the fullness of Thy Immaculate mysteries, from these returning back to Thee. It is from many imperfect iterations of truth in the obscurity of the hidden mysteries of Thy Divine governance that Thou leadest me to Truth. As if I recalled mysteries already known (for, implicitly, insofar as I knew truth, I knew the Truth), Thou broughtest forth the fruits of eternal life from seeds Thou planted in times past. As a wise gardener, Thou workest in me, planting, watering, pruning, bringing forth fruit through pain, despair, imperfection. For all Thy works are prudence. In a moment, enlightening me with that mystic light that is Thy very substance, Thou broughtest me into the eternal destiny prepared for Thy saints since before the world. I pray that Thou mayest illume once against my intellect to worthily account for Thy work in me and through me, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

I am currently sitting on my couch, at 1am, yet again, contemplating the work done through me by the Divine savior, the one who “become my salvation,” and thus “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” Will this account I give be cogent? Perhaps. If I was seeking cogency, I would not bother writing this at such an hour. What I do seek is a much greater virtue in writing such an account of my reflections on conversion, that is, that I may give an account of that mystical voice of God wherein He speaks silently to the hearts of men. Working invisibly, yet bringing all things visible to pass. Working silently, yet bringing forth works that are to be “announced by angels to the four corners of the world.” The one “dwelling in unapproachable light,” as St. Newman writes, “all through our life…calls us from grace to grace, and from holiness to holiness, while life is given us.”

While I had been exposed to the truth and knew the truth, yet in the pride and obstinacy of the darkness of my heart, I rejected this truth. How can this be? How could I, while knowing the truth, be said simultaneously to reject it? For, I was in the cave of darkness and shadows. Seeing aspects of the truth, yet not the Truth. The glorious splendor that is the truth was revealed to me, that dazzling light overcame me, blinded me, cast me to the ground with its effervescent power and beauteous grandeur. I could catch a mere glimpse of the light. The great discomfort of the light of truth caused me to prefer the comfortable shadows of falsehood.

I did not venture to seek the truth, follow the truth, accept the truth because it had not yet been given to me to love the truth, which is why I choose to reject the truth. St. Thomas speaks rightly about this, “Now two things concur in choice: one on the part of the [intellect] the other on the part of the [affections]. On the part of the [intellect]...we judge one thing to be preferred to another: and on the part of the [affections], it is required that the [affections] should accept the judgment of [the intellect].”

I did not love what my intellect had verified as true. I was in a pitiable state. Writhing under a greater pain, the pain of disorder. Intellect and affections clashing in a battle between truth and concupiscence. Yet, as in a moment, natural light was changed for supernatural, temporal for eternal, intellectual erudition for mystical adoration. The Lord, in His great kindness spoke cor ad cor in imperceptible and transcendent whispers, healing those disordered and dissident affections warring against the unconquerable, omnipotent force of Divine Grace.

In a moment, I was changed. In a moment I loved. In a moment I came to a pure contemplation of what I already, in a sense, knew, a pure desire towards that object of eternal and everlasting love.

The Lumen Gratia shined upon me.

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