Lord, I thank you for this time to be with you.
I don't deserve your close friendship, and yet you offer me the intimacy of your heart. I trust in
your goodness and hope in your infinite mercy. I love you and wish to give up anything that would
keep me from you.
Lord, give me compunction of heart and the grace
of a true conversion.
1. Prerequisite of the Kingdom:
"The kingdom of God is at
hand," "The kingdom of God is within you," and You are not far from the kingdom, are all
expressions of Our Lord. He came to establish a kingdom, one that would begin here on earth and
continue on into eternity. We build the kingdom within ourselves by practicing virtue; we allow
God's grace to purify us from selfishness and vice and to build us up in faith, hope and charity.
There is, however, a pre-requisite for grace to begin and continue to work its ongoing miracle:
acknowledgement of our failings and belief in Christ. We must "repent, and believe in the Gospel"
(Mark 1:15). Am I aware of my constant need to turn to God and turn from my daily sins? Can I
truly say that I'm striving to overcome my sins and faults so that I can be more like Christ and
closer to him?
2. Interior Sackcloth and Ashes:
The type of penance that
Jesus seeks must begin in our interior. When Peter becomes aware of who Christ is, he falls on his
knees and exclaims, "Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man" (Luke 5:8). "Jesus call to conversion
and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, "sackcloth
and ashes," fasting and mortification, but at conversion of heart, interior conversion. Without
this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in
visible signs, gestures and works of penance" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1420). The best
"expression in visible signs" of conversion and penance is our imitation of Christ. The apostles
"abandoned their nets and followed him" (Mark 1:18).
3. Venues of Conversion:
Number 1434 of the Catechism we learn that conversion and penance are not things we embrace only
once or only after serious sin, by going to confession and then leaving them aside. "The interior
penance of a Christian," rather "can be expressed in many and various ways". Fasting, prayer and
almsgiving are mentioned as venues for expressing our ongoing conversion. Other more specific ways
are "efforts at reconciliation with one's neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation
of one's neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity "which covers a
multitude of sins." Does my heart resonate with these ways, and if not, why not? What could be
more important than an intimate friendship with my Lord and God, with whom I hope to spend all
Conversation with Christ:
Jesus, my days are booked up with so
much activity and noise
that it's extremely hard for me even to reflect about my need for
conversion of heart. Please help me to turn away from my sins
and bad habits
by turning to you and imitating you. Wash me
of my sins, and draw me close to
I will meekly apologize for having offended someone
without touching on anything negative about that person.