“This changed my life.”
It’s a sentence that I find coming from my lips more and more frequently. For a long time, I feared the phrase, “life changing,” because I didn’t want to hyperbolize. As someone who has become overwhelmed by the goodness of pumpkin pie pop tarts, I sometimes need to keep my passionate reactions in check.
There are some moments and experiences that have unquestionably changed me. There were painful experiences like moving cross country or losing family members. There were huge decisions like switching ballet studios in eighth grade or accepting this traineeship. There were the books I read like Perelandra, by C.S. Lewis which changed my perception of spiritual warfare and the Christian life, or Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge that opened my eyes to previously unchartered facets of my own soul and the Lord’s heart. There were the spiritual encounters like falling in love with the Eucharist in a whole new way while on a vacation out West or attending the Destination Jesus retreat in my junior year.
But then there are the smaller moments. The one sentence whispered by Jesus in a Holy Hour on an ordinary Friday evening. The casual conversation with a friend where the Holy Spirit moved powerfully. There was Brideshead Revisited which taught me how to self-examine and evangelize and become pierced by the transcendent in ways I hadn’t previously encountered. And I’ve come to realize that my list of “life changing moments” grows on a regular basis. I’m not Saul being knocked off his horse every other week. But the One who blinded Saul is the same One I converse with every time I enter prayer. And shouldn’t every encounter with Infinite Goodness be life changing?
St. Therese famously writes, “You cannot be half a Saint; You must be a whole Saint or no Saint at all.” To be a Saint is to run back to the Father and away from our self-centeredness and worldliness daily. It requires constant conversion, constant cooperation with the Holy Spirit to change one’s life a little more every day. Fortunately we have all the grace sufficient for this call to conversion, for this invitation to press even more deeply into the heart of Jesus.
Because every day we have the opportunity for our lives to be changed. We can let ourselves be captivated by the beauty of this autumn weather and hear the personalized homily that Christ preaches through nature. We can be attentive to the words the Holy Spirit whispers at a red light. We can immerse ourselves in media that teaches us to love the Lord in new ways. If it wasn’t for a single Instagram post explaining an aspect of Eucharistic devotion that I read the summer after eighth grade, my life would look very different. And every day, we can reach out like the hemorrhaging woman, coming to the feet of the Master through Scripture and the Sacraments. You might not notice a tangible change. Be grateful that every period of prayer is not like Saturday night adoration at a youth conference, because that would be exhausting. But know that whether or not you feel like prayer is transforming you, the Lord is moving in unspeakably beautiful ways over the waters of your soul every time you approach Him.
So today, I invite you to join me in praying, “Jesus, open my eyes to the way you want to change my life today.” And take some time to consider the things that have changed your life. Don’t be afraid of a long list. That doesn’t mean that you’re inauthentic in your answers or overexaggerating your own conversion. It simply means that you belong to a merciful God who didn’t come to save you one Saturday night in Steubenville. He comes to save you and transform you every day, if you only give Him permission. He has a goodness that cannot be overexaggerated.