Question 022.  

What is the relationship between prayer and conversion?

Part V: Counsels for the Converted

For living among things human, we cannot withdraw from things human.  We must live among evil men with forbearance, because when we used to be evil men, the good men lived with forbearance among us.  If we do not forget what we have been, we will not despair of those who are not what we once were.

from St. Augustine Answers 101 Questions on Prayer by Fr. Ermatinger.


All men are called to undertake the journey to God; none are not called.  They do not, however, all undertake the journey at the same time, at the same speed, with the same ease or difficulty, nor do all finish. For many are called but few are chosen.  Some remain sleeping, refusing to wake.  Some get lost along the way, ensnared by brambles.  Yet others run aground, their ships floundering in sight of the heavenly shore.  None, though, are left wanting of sufficient grace to complete the journey, for it is God’s will that all men might be saved and be united with Him in eternity, even as not a few choose themselves over Him.  

It is in this tension that the converted, that is those who have recognized God and His call, been lured by Him, and have begun the Way, live their lives.  It is a sojourn, a pilgrimage, living in this life while heading towards the future life.  It is a life lived in, by, and through prayer, recognizing that it is by His grace, working through faith and charity, that one is where one is along the journey.  One might look ahead and see another who is more advanced and therein find reason to glorify God and to have hope that one too may one day be where the other is.  One may look behind and see those who are not yet as advanced and therein find reason to glorify God for how He has brought oneself so far.  So too one might hope for those behind that they too might one day advance.  One may look side to side and find others who are journeying together with oneself and glorify God for all that He is currently working these souls and find hope that amidst it all; for Thou art with me.  It is through prayer that one finds hope; for others, for oneself.  It is prayer that brings forth gratitude at mercies given, praise for mercies received, and above all humility that starting, traversing, and finishing of the journey is all from, by, and for God.


Fra Angelico, Bl. John of Fiesole, c. 1435-35