THE CONVERSION OF ST. MATTHEW
Christ looked at Matthew seated at the
tax collector's booth and said: "Come follow Me." And Matthew
left the booth, left the books unfinished and the collection for the
day. Today he could be accused of dereliction of duties.
Matthew's conversion was an example of
a pure Divine intervention in that Matthew just heard the words of
Christ and was totally converted, to the point of leaving all
things. Nothing like that ever happens today. Today,
Christians hear the words of God for years without leaving anything
and following Christ. Conversion has not taken place.
The ordinary way instituted by Christ
for the conversion of souls is put down in the Apostolic commission:
those sent by Christ must go to all nations, baptize them but, more
importantly, teach them all the commands of Christ and how to
observe them. This is how St. Benedict did it to Sts. Maur and
Placid and the rest of his monks that made his monastic order
produce a great number of saints. And this is the way St.
Augustine did it in England, and Boniface in Germany, Patrick
in Ireland. This was the case during the time of the Fathers
of the Church; people became saints because of the Catholic Church.
The men of the Church were performing their Apostolic Commission.
But this is not the case a hundred years ago until now.
In the history of the Catholic Church,
there are instances wherewith Christians became great saints, sort
of, without the help from the men of the Catholic Church. St.
Francis of Assisi, for instance, did not leave all things and
followed Christ at the instigation of a bishop or priest's sermon as
St. Augustine's conversion was initiated by a sermon from St.
Ambrose. He merely heard the readings of the mass. St.
Benedict reached the heights of holiness and became the patron saint
of monasticism, no thanks to any one in the Catholic Church.
These are stories of conversions by direct Divine intervention as
St. Matthew's. From whom did Teresa of Avila learn there was
something wrong and that her order needed reformation? Where
did St. Paul acquire his knowledge to the point of surpassing the
other apostles? Obviously, it could not have been from the
Look at the Oxford movement, John Henry
Newman, also Chesterton, Belloc and Benson, son of the Anglican
Archbishop of Canterbury; they were all converted to Catholicism
without any help from the men of the Catholic Church but just by
reading the Fathers of the Church. Imagine, the greatest
spiritual writers and apologists of the Catholic Church in the last
century are converts from Anglicanism, not from the Catholic Church.
We don't have any great minds among the Catholics today because most
Catholics have no conversion.