The Proclamation of Easter has one of the greatest expressions that help us understand our faith: “O happy fault.” To all of us who have had a “Before Christ” past, these three words show that, despite not having always done right, God’s love is greater than our faults.
A fundamental requirement to getting closer to someone is actually having been far away from them at one time. This is why conversion testimonies are so strong and necessary when we evangelize. It is not the same to listen a story about God’s love from someone who was raised in a Catholic family, and has participated in a ministry all his life, than it is to listen to the testimony of someone who persecuted the Church, contradicted and cursed everything related to Jesus… someone whose life made a 180-degree turn to finally surrendering his heart to God and His service.
And so we present to you a few videos with conversion testimonies that do not show any supernatural miracles, but relate to that which Saint Paul accomplished with his preaching, the metanoia, that transformation of the heart and of understanding.
Arriving At Amen: How An Atheist Blogger Learned To Pray (Leah Libresco)
From Atheist To Catholic (Jen Fulwiler)
A Former Atheist Becomes A Catholic Priest (Fr. John Barunek)
We invite you to use these videos not only for personal reflection, but also to share them with those you minister to, with your community, your religious formation class, or even with your family during Sunday’s after-dinner conversation.
1. Elastic spirituality: Our soul “stretches” to move away from that which sustains us, only to return with more strength. This happens to all of us, many times a day, but also in longer periods of time… months, and even years in which we drift from God, ceasing to feel His presence, and struggling to see Him. As a consequence, this produces an intense and profound return, full of momentum and renovating strength so powerful that it can even launch us to a mission, like a loaded and released slingshot.
Discussion questions: What was the last “stretch” your soul experienced by moving far from God? Did you go back to God with even greater strength?
2. To look for reasons to get away, but to end up finding more reasons to stay: Very typical of those who, in doubt, look for logical reasons to explain to themselves the existence of God, but in their search end up finding unexplainable experiences. Such experiences are not logical nor rational, but they’re irrefutably true. They cannot deny these experiences and, unable to understand them, must accept them.
Discussion question: Have you “experienced” the presence of God in your life in an unexplainable way? (Emotions, feelings, extraordinary events, etc.)
3. The explanations given through love: In the film “Karol, the Man Who Became Pope,” there is a poem attributed to Saint John Paul II, that appears at the moment when he is elected Pope and wears, for the first time, his white papal vestments:
“Love has explained everything to me. Love has solved everything for me. That is why I admire love wherever it is found. (…) God came this far and He stopped a short step away from nothingness, very close to our eyes. Perhaps life is a wave of astonishment, a wave higher than death. Don’t ever be afraid.”
Love (in capital letters), profoundly contradictory yet tremendously clear, explains everything, gives us reasons. Love is not just the “engine” that drives things and motivation, because we do things for love, but it is “someone” who, by being present in our lives, manifests in the people around us. This “someone,” according to Saint John Paul II, is God Himself.
Discussion question: Having experienced moments of estrangement from God in your life, have you felt that supernatural Love that brings you back home?
We can draw many other ideas from these videos to reflect upon, I’ve only suggested three. Surely, you can analyze these stories from many different perspectives, and help others discover how much we, atheists (like the ones from the video), and believers like you and me, need to grow closer to God.
This post originally appeared on Catholic-Link Spanish. It was translated into English by Lorena Tabares.