Skip to comments.The Conversion of Souls: Never Give Up!
Posted on 09/05/2013 4:27:10 AM PDT by NYer
At a recent Catholic conference I attended, one of the guest speakers asked those present if they had a family member who had either lapsed from the Catholic faith or if they had family members who never had it to begin with. Out of the more than 700 attendees, nearly every hand in the audience went up. Not surprising since it is estimated that upwards twenty million Americans consider themselves to be lapsed Catholics. More than likely, we all know of someone within each of our families who simply no longer practice the faith or who have not yet come to know Jesus. Yet despite this, Jesus wants each person to receive salvation. We know through the Gospels that Jesus continually interceded for others throughout his ministry including the sick, the possessed, and even his Apostles. Following Jesus example, we know that God the Father also wants us to intercede for the conversion of others.
Chances are when we are praying for a loved one, they wont have an immediate conversion like Saint Paul, who in an instant converted from Judaism on the road to Damascus. Therefore, we must be willing to persevere in prayer for our loved ones, knowing that prayer is powerful and that God has begun to work in their soul through his grace. We can look to the Saints to see many examples of how they persevered in prayer for the conversion of another. One of the most popular examples is Saint Monica. Through her daily prayers and copious tears for 17 years, Saint Monicas prayers eventually led to the conversion of her pagan husband and her son, who went on to become Saint Augustine of Hippo. When Saint Monica once approached the great Christian theologian, Saint Ambrose, to see if he would speak to her son to help bring about his conversion, Saint Ambrose replied to her, It is impossible for the son of such tears to perish! Even though she did not see immediate results, Saint Monica serves as a great role model in never giving up in praying for the conversion of her son despite no real change in St. Augustine for 17 years!
It is also important to note that God wishes us to pray for the conversion of not only our loved ones, but also for the conversion of all unbelievers across the world, including those we have never met but may feel called to pray for in a special way whether they be a politician, celebrity, sports figure, or someone we encounter just once in our lives in a chance meeting. An example of such prayer comes to us from St. Therese of Lisieux who prayed for the conversion of a notorious and unrepentant killer named Henri Pranzini prior to his death by guillotine for his murderous crimes. Therese read what happened in the paper the following day after his death and recorded how when he was about to put his head into the guillotine saying, he turned, took hold of the crucifix the priest was holding out to him, and kissed the sacred wounds three times! Then his soul went to receive the merciful sentence of him who declares that in heaven there will be more joy over one sinner who does penance than over ninety-nine who have no need of repentance!
From these powerful examples we can see that Jesus desires that we actively participate in the salvation of all souls through our prayers. Combined with fasting and penance, our prayers become even more powerful for the conversion of others, even hardened sinners such as the one St. Therese prayed for.
In her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Saint Faustina Kowalska recorded that she received a private revelation regarding intercessory prayer from Jesus who told her to Call upon My mercy on behalf of sinners; I desire their salvation. When you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give them the grace of conversion. This is the prayer: O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You”(Diary, 186-187). You may be saying to yourself, this is too simple an act to bring about the conversion of another! Yet even if we find it difficult to comprehend or believe in the power of intercessory prayer, such as the prayer above, we are encouraged to act with faith and trust that Jesus will honor His promise to save the souls for whom such prayer is offered.
We must also realize that conversion is a daily process for all of us by which we all are called to grow more like Christ. Frankly, I see myself as ever converting! Of course, we must also realize that individual souls ultimately have free will and can decide to love Jesus or reject him along with Gods saving graces. For while God desires each persons individual conversion, He does not desire a coercive conversion; He desires a cooperative conversion. Still, this should never deter us from offering ongoing prayers for the conversion of another. To borrow a famous line from Winston Churchill he once used in speaking to a group of students just after the Blitz, Never, Never, Never Give Up! Trusting in the power of God, these words can also be applied to us in praying for the conversion of others when it comes to the battle of saving souls in our own families and across todays world.
I agree with this, and have been praying the Divine Mercy for the conversion of family members. May our gentle and humble God intervene in all our lives.
Perhaps Barry needs the services of an exorcist.
Great post, thanks. My entire family and most of my friends are so very lost, I’m often tempted to give up praying.
Thanks for posting. I needed this inspiration this morning!
This has been my experience as well. The world is filled with so many distractions and confused messages that can easily draw one away from God. Recall the parable of the sower.
In posting this thread, I recalled two aspects of the Divine Mercy message. The first is our Lord's message to St. Faustina, requesting that a novena precede Easter.
and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: 'Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.' For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy."
Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.
The other is from the visions of Heaven, Purgatory and Hell that were shown to Faustina.
"...I saw two roads. One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music and all sorts of pleasures. People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves. They reached the end without realizing it. And at the end of the road there was a horrible precipice; that is, the abyss of hell. The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell. And their number was so great that it was impossible to count them. And I saw the other road, or rather, a path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks; and the people who walked along it had tears in their eyes, and all kinds of suffering befell them. Some fell down upon the rocks, but stood up immediately and went on. At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness and all these souls entered there. At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings" (Diary 153).
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, we are reminded to .. Pray without ceasing. Never give up.
Shouldn’t we be “humble” to be a Catholic? The “world” is full of pride.
Just what I needed today! Thank you!
I have many, MANY friends & family who are very lost and consumed by worldliness. I have fallen off in my efforts to pray for them since I find it frustrating. Reading this, however, has invigorated me. Again, thank you!
Rather, “be not afraid” to proclaim one’s faith.
I would ditto that.
I saw a painting in a French gallery that left an impression.
It was three panels with the middle panel missing. One panel was very dark (black and white) and dreary with many people falling into an abyss (like Hell) and the other panel was colorful and full of joy with a few people looking up with smiles (Heaven).
I had a friend that suffered a heart attack and near death experience and described his experience as a tunnel of light that was very pleasing and watching many people (too many to count) falling down into an abyss (very depressing).
Great testimony on the NDE!