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"Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do his Father's will, looks around upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."  C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters 

      This quote from C.S. Lewis seems especially poignant in our even more modern times.  It reminds both people who have faith, and people who say they do not have faith, that we are always making a choice.  Belief may be based on empirical evidence, but faith is turning in the direction of God, even when there may be doubt.  When we choose to turn toward God, God runs to us with a love greater than anything we have ever experienced before.  How can we know this?  A person must first make the choice.  It is a personal experience.

       How does one make such a choice, and why is the choice so difficult to make?  For some it is difficult to make because of the suffering that exists in the world. Why would an all powerful, all loving God allow such suffering?  To get beyond this stumbling block, I invite you to listen to the words of one contemporary scholar, Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, PhD, in his book, The Light Shines on in the Darkness: "God does not want us to experience pain, deprivation, grief, and hardship any more than a good parent.  He allows suffering so that we can have the freedom to make our love our own, so that it will not be only the instructions of a divine programmer.  He also allows suffering so that we can freely choose the attitudes that will give us meaning, purpose, and identity in life. . ." pg. 171.  Fr. Spitzer has much more to say on this topic, both in his book and on his website,                                                                                M. Malik, PhD   


One of the intents of this ministry is to share spiritual journeys of conversion to faith.  We will begin with Saints and noted historical figures but we will be inviting others to share their stories as well. 

ST. PAUL: ACTS 9:1-20


Now Saul, still breathing

murderous threats against

the disciples of the Lord,

went to the high priest and

asked him for letters to the

synagogues in Damascus,

that, if he should find any

men or women who belonged

to the Way, he might bring

them back to Jerusalem in

chains.  On his journey, as he

was nearing Damascus, a

light from the sky suddenly

flashed around him. 

He fell to the ground and

heard a voice saying to him,

“Saul, Saul, why are you

persecuting me?”  He said, “

Who are you sir?”  The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.  Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”  The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one.  Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.  For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

         There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.”  He answered, “Here I am Lord.”  The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.  He is there praying, and he has seen in vision a man named Ananias come in and lay hands on him, that he may regain his sight." But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.  And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.  But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites, and I will show him what he will have to suffer in my name."  So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him he said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."  Immediately things like scales fell off his eyes and he regained his sight.  He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

         He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus, and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”  All who heard him were astounded and said, “Is not this the man who in Jerusalem ravaged those who call upon this name, and came here expressly to take them back in chains to the chief priests?”  But Saul grew all the stronger and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus, proving that this is the Messiah.





"We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent, and God is shining through it all the time."












Excerpts from the biography of Thomas Merton from the Thomas Merton Center at Bellermine University

       "Thomas Merton (1915-1968) is arguably the most influential American Catholic author of the twentieth century. His autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, has sold over one million copies and has been translated into over fifteen languages. He wrote over sixty other books and hundreds of poems and articles on topics ranging from monastic spirituality to civil rights, nonviolence, and the nuclear arms race.

       Thomas Merton was born in Prades, France. His New Zealand-born father, Owen Merton, and his American-born mother, Ruth Jenkins, were both artists. They had met at painting school in Paris, were married at St. Anne's Church, Soho, London and returned to the France where Thomas Merton was born on January 31st, 1915.

      After a rambunctious youth and adolescence, Merton converted to Roman Catholicism whilst at Columbia University and on December 10th, 1941 he arrived at the Abbey of Gethsemani, a community of monks belonging to the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists), the most ascetic Roman Catholic monastic order.

       The twenty-seven years he spent in Gethsemani brought about profound changes in his self-understanding. This ongoing conversion impelled him into the political arena, where he became, according to Daniel Berrigan, the conscience of the peace movement of the 1960's. 

       During his last years, he became deeply interested in Asian religions, particularly Zen Buddhism, and in promoting East-West dialogue. After several meetings with Merton during the American monk's trip to the Far East in 1968, the Dalai Lama praised him as having a more profound understanding of Buddhism than any other Christian he had known. It was during this trip to a conference on East-West monastic dialogue that Merton died, near Bangkok, on December 10, 1968. The date marked the twenty-seventh anniversary of his arrival at Gethsemani."



St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) was the 

 son of a well-to-do merchant in the

town of Assisi. As a young man, he had

a carefree and exuberant love of life

and spirit of worldliness, and was

admired as a leader among his peers.  

Francis was enamored with military life.  

In 1202, he took part in the war between

Assisi and Perugia, and became a

prisoner for almost a year. Upon his

release fell seriously ill. After his

recovery, he attempted to join the papal

forces against the emperor Frederick II 

in Apulia in late 1205. On his journey,

however, he had a vision or dream telling

him return to Assisi and await the call to

a new kind of knighthood. On his return, he dedicated himself to solitude and prayer so that he might know God’s will for him.  He also became aware of the terrible conditions of beggars and lepers, and is said to have kissed a leper.


At the ruined chapel of San Damiano outside the gate of Assisi, Francis heard the crucifix above the altar command him: “Go, Francis, and repair my house which, as you see, is well-nigh in ruins.” He took this literally. He sold fine cloth from his father’s shop and tried to give the money to the priest at San Damiano.  His angry father brought him before the civil authorities in the town square, and Francis stripped off his clothes, renouncing his former life. Completely naked, he said: “Until now I have called you my father on earth. But henceforth I can truly say: Our Father who art in heaven.” Francis left his wealthy home to live as a hermit in poverty, and devoted himself to looking after the sick and rebuilding decaying churches around Assisi. Francis began preaching around 1207 and traveled to Rome to seek approval from Pope Innocent III in 1209 to form a new mendicant religious order. 

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