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The Contemplation that Led to My Conversion

When I was a teenager I was the class clown in my local public high school in Central New Jersey. however, however, while my friends and teachers saw me fooling around every day privately, I was hevan deep.  Thoughts about important subjects. In fact, without understanding what I was doing, I was beginning a life of contemplation. I was not doing this intentionally but was being led to this by the grace of God.

There were three ideas that led me to conversion. the first was the idea of infinite power. The second was the idea of non-existence. The third was the idea of eternity.

The first idea was power. I remember being in high school when I saw a documentary on television about nuclear weapons. I saw images of how nuclear weapons could cause a building to simply disintegrate and disappear.  .I thi thought to myself if a nuclear bomb is that terrifying? How much more terrifying is the infinite power of god?

The second idea that contributed to my conversion was the thought of non-existence. I spent time alone in my bedroom as a teenager. Thinking about what happens when we die.  I did not know of or believe in the resurrection of the dead. So I thought that at the moment of death we simply cease to exist. Peri thought to myself. What would it mean to simply not exist anymore? That thought of non existence.  Made me feel that life is entirely pointless and there is no reason to endure any of the stress or difficulty of this life.

The third idea that led to my conversion was the thought of than eternity, the idea of having my eternal destiny determined by a single moment of judgment. I often thought of the Bible passage. Where Jesus says that he will judge the sheep and the goats and in one moment say to the unbelievers. Depart from me, you wicked into the everlasting fire. that thought.  Of being judged for eternity with no chance to change my situation terrified me.

I’ve never thought about this until this morning. But I was led at that time in my life. Between the ages of 17 and 19 by the grace of God to contemplate 3 abstract ideas. the contemplation of those 3 abstract it was. Sufficient to lead to the conversion of my entire life.

When we read the sacred scriptures, especially the psalms. We can see the Holy Spirit drawing us to contemplation. We see the Holy Spirit presenting abstract concepts for our contemplation. Consider the following passage from 1 Chronicles, read at Morning Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours:

Blessed may you be, O Lord,
God of Israel our father,
from eternity to eternity.

Yours, O Lord, are grandeur and power,
majesty, splendor, and glory.

Note all the abstract ideas: eternity, grandeur, power, majesty, splendor, glory.

To ascend from the material world of individual bodies subject to constant change to the immaterial world of unchanging ideas is the work of contemplation. This is what the Scriptuees leads us to do.

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