"Why do some converts integrate very quickly and others, even after 50 years, still seem as though they had converted yesterday? I puzzled about this for decades. I concluded that it is all to do with the purity or the impurity of the motivation of the convert."
Why do some converts integrate very quickly and others, even after 50 years, still seem as though they had converted yesterday? I puzzled about this for decades. I concluded that it is all to do with the purity or the impurity of the motivation of the convert. Convert zeal (which is like a seed, so zeal there must be), should always be humble zeal. Such zeal can be channelled. Unfortunately, some zeal is simply the pride of ambition and lust for power and cannot be channelled. And pride always goes before the fall, just as the fall is always the result of pride. And pride always ends up in a sect or in (internet) isolation. I think the Parable of the Sower (Lk 8) says everything. For example:
Some seed fell by the wayside:
There are those who have been seeking for God for a long time and, though they have found Him in the Church, they still prefer to seek rather than to find. Finding for them is boring.
There are those who wish to convert because their lives are very boring and think they can enliven themselves with something that seems to them exotic –though for those born into the Church, it is not exotic at all, just normal and natural.
Some seed fell upon a rock:
There are those whose conversion is all about emotion and sensuous excitement (the sound of singing, the smell of incense, the sight of icons) or sometimes an attachment to a personality. Once their emotion has dried up or the personality is not what they thought or dies, they give up, like a flame that has burned brightly by being fuelled by paper, but once the fuel has been consumed, all that is left is ashes.
Some seed fell among thorns:
There are those who want to be better than others, they seek an ideal, perfection, though they themselves are not ideal or perfect and they have no discernment at all. Manipulated, they adopt a sectarian ideology and their pride always ends up in hatred for others.
There are those who wish to convert so that they can then berate all those who did not want to convert with them. Their motive is self-justification and the desire to feel superior, which is simply pride.
The key to real conversion is always in humility.
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