Thursday, February 23, 2017

Called to Conversion Today

By Beth DeCristofaro

Delay not your conversion to the LORD, put it not off from day to day.  (Sirach 5:7)

Jesus said to his disciples: "Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward. (Mark 9:41)

“Saint Polycarp, sometimes Christ seems so far away from us. Centuries have passed since you and the apostles walked the earth. Help us to see that he is close to us always and that we can keep him nearby imitating his life as you did.”[i] Venerable Henriette, pray for us.  Amen. 

We are preparing to celebrate a sacred milestone in our family next month, our daughter’s wedding.  Not only do we love our soon-to-be Son, but we also look forward to celebrating in that most celebratory of cities, New Orleans.  It’s never hard to find God present on such occasions but I am also reminded of God’s presence over the centuries which have shaped New Orleans, shaped our Church, shaped my faith. 

New Orleans is a city known for music, hospitality, and lagniappe but it also has a rich and deep history of faith particularly Roman Catholic.  Today’s city is a tapestry of colors, flavors, lifestyles and worship thanks in part to the many who “gave a cup of water to drink” to those in need.

One New Orleanais might be on the way to sainthood herself.  Venerable Henriette Delille (1813-1862), a Creole woman, founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family.  Unlike St. Polycarp who was martyred, Henriette faced less lethal but still severe obstacles.  Civil and Church leaders resisted and obstructed the idea of a black religious congregation.  Poverty and unkindness within the public curbed her mission.  Her health constrained her.[ii]  St. Polycarp was called an atheist by the Roman pagans before they murdered him.  Henriette was confronted by those who thought she was overstepping her place.  Neither Polycarp nor Henriette was dissuaded from their call.  Neither delayed their conversion.  Both lived true to life in Jesus.

We might like to think that we live in days where people will not be burned or ostracized because of color, belief, country of origin, or their way of life.  We know, however, that cruelty, ignorance, lust for power, control, fear, and prejudice still hold sway in our world.  What can I do today within my Cursillo community and my environment to be converted again to live in Jesus, defeating my own prejudices and promoting the holy lives of others?  Read “on the road to sainthood” from the USCCB website (link below) for inspiration.

(Photo credit: The Faces of Delille,

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