Monday, February 29, 2016

Deeper Conversion to Christ—Ecumenical Lenten Reflections

By Father John Crossin

Progress in spiritual ecumenism is deeply dependent on inner conversion. The problem for us is that our culture is achievement oriented. When we apply for a position, for example, we send our list of achievements in the hope that we will be interviewed for the job.

Busyness is an acceptable excuse for not looking inward. If we read St. Francis de Sales, however, we soon see that he encourages both contemplation and action. He thinks there is a balance and a positive relationship between these two phases of Christian life. Both need to be nourished each day.

We need to take some quiet time each day for God. It is in this inner time that we can become conscious of the obstacles to our deeper conversion to Christ. Here we can identify our outer and inner obstacles.

For example, we may have too much ‘stuff.’ We spend excessive time getting material things and taking care of them. Similarly, we may want to know too much. So we spend too much time watching cable TV or on the internet or using social media.

It may be best to establish our prayer and work times first and then let our ‘news or things time’ fit in as they can. We probably won’t miss much. Most important news will be repeated tomorrow; there will be other sales.

The virtue here is simplicity. Can we live simply enough to allow time to hear the Spirit speaking to us through inner inspirations or the word and example of others? Can we sense the inner peace/joy that the Spirit brings? Can we carry this peace with us into the tasks of the day?

Deeper conversion to Christ will bring us closer to one another and to Christian unity.


Father John Crossin, OSFS is executive director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He tweets @crossinusccb.

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