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THE CHURCH


 

 

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 apostles.

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.

 

 

   

   

 

 (08-25-10)

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