Our fallen human nature, our habits, all “create barriers to receiving the fullness of the grace of God,” says Father Tom Wilson. He is a regular contributor to The Inner Life® on Relevant Radio® and the pastor of All Saints Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Fr. Wilson and Chuck Neff talked about personal conversion—why it is so difficult and how we can improve our own spiritual lives.
“God’s continuing call to us for conversion in our lives is a reminder that we still need Him.” Fr. Wilson says we need to overcome “our own stubbornness of will, our own weakness,” which are barriers “to that conversion that we’re all called to.” He also warns us to not fall into the trap of “easily recognizing the faults and the weaknesses” of others, “without really reflecting on and doing something about our own.”
When we make a change in our lives, it doesn’t stop there. “We are on a constant pilgrimage back towards the Father in heaven,” says Fr. Wilson. On our journey, “we take steps, and some of those steps might be very very large steps” but most of them will be short steps, small changes. When we have successes in moving closer to God, “we need to recognize and be grateful for the victories,” but also “keep in mind, in humility, that there’s still a ways to go.”
The big changes we need to make are more obvious to us and to other people, they “are right in front of us and we have to do them and we know we have to make a decision.” The small changes, says Fr. Wilson, are easier for us to put off to tomorrow. Those smaller things are daily conversions and “the only people who are really going to notice them are ourselves and God.” Those are the things we need to focus more attention on because it can be a temptation to let them be forgotten.
First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:5