Scroll down to see the video, audio and text version of this episode including a worksheet!
This week I’m reviewing Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer by Fr. Thomas Dubay
and this book is right up my ally. It’s like a businessy self-help book that’s about becoming a better Catholic. I wish it was organized a little bit better or easier to follow but if you’re willing to dig deep and read something a little dry, I think the heart of this book is incredibly valuable. Dubay urges us to always be seeking a deeper conversion and doing that through a deeper prayer life.
Don’t worry if you don’t feel up for reading it! That’s why I pull out important points and put them here – so you can get some great Catholic wisdom in just 15 minutes! The first quote I wanted to highlight this week is this:
“…seek and practice all the virtues, and in our example, the virtue of temperance in your use of food and drink. Select what you shall eat and drink in accordance with what is best for your health, not what may flatter your taste buds but damage your well-being and ability to serve others as well. He is saying also: be moderate and realistically motivated. In other words, be converted. Give up your self-centeredness and love truth, goodness and beauty. No matter how far you are advanced or how wayward you are in your spiritual life, if this fundamental change is taking place, you are on your way up, on your way to becoming beautiful. It may take time, but it can happen with the grace of God — which is always present.” – Fr. Thomas Dubay, Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer
There’s so much here that speaks to my heart and to my brokenness. I absolutely struggle with feeding my emotions and soothing myself by overeating. If this isn’t your struggle, just insert whatever worldly practice in your own life needs temperance (i.e. daily Starbucks, Target shopping sprees, compulsive TV watching, online gambling, drinking too much wine etc.) But man when days get tough, I have such a hard time grabbing onto Jesus instead of reaching for some cheesecake.
And what Dubay is saying is absolutely true. I hurt my own well-being and my ability to care for others simply to satisfy my taste buds. And it’s not just that the food tastes good, which it does, but it also calms me down. I really wish it didn’t. I really wish it didn’t work. But even if the affect is temporary, it’s real and it’s there. I do feel soothed. I do feel comforted.
I’ve been trying for years to use Jesus for my soothing but man, I haven’t quite cracked that code at the end of a stressful day when my body is crying out for carbs or sugar. But I keep trying. Honestly, I do. And Dubay is one of the reasons I keep trying. I want to spend my WHOLE life trying to find a deeper conversion. I want to grow closer to Christ and I want Him to be the only thing I turn to when I’m anxious or stressed.
Be converted… on your way to becoming beautiful. I know I’ve kind of mushed these two phrases together but they seem like the should be together. The more we strive to be holy, the more we become beautiful in Christ. That’s the kind of beauty I want to chase. I keep finding new systems and new tricks to practice temperance in my eating. You’re catching me on a day and I have had six days of clean eating and awesome progress on my weight loss goals. Not all weeks are this shiny. But when I have a rough day, I hope to hear Dubay’s words to keep me on track!
I find so much hope in those last words, “…it can happen with the grace of God — which is always present.” I have hope that I’ll figure this out! He is always with me.
The second quote I wanted to focus on is this:
“…people who are profoundly intimate with their indwelling Lord are never bored. Boredom and genuine joy are incompatible. Selfishness diminishes a person’s liveliness and capacity to enjoy reality and to grow in the best of human relationships.” – Fr. Thomas Dubay, Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer
I have to admit, I am a big pouty teenager who whines about being bored sometimes. Living in toddler land with little to no adult interaction and cycling through Candyland and Dr. Suess books everyday really wears on me sometimes. And these are the times I turn to worldly pursuits (i.e. food, lattes, Netflix etc.) when I should be turning to my faith instead. I love the phrase “intimate with their indwelling Lord.” It helps me to visualize that Christ lives inside of me and it makes me ashamed that I push Him to the background. I want to have a profoundly intimate relationship with Him.
I also want to live a life filled with genuine joy! I’ve been practicing this more and… it works! Here’s what I’ve been doing:
- Recognizing when I start to feel anxious or bored. I find those two emotions are usually related.
- Identify what the main source of those feelings (i.e. my kids, my husband, my house, my finances, my blog etc.)
- Think of something related to that source that brings me genuine joy.
– If it’s my kids… I do something I really like doing with them like going outside on a crisp Fall day or baking cookies with them or making a silly craft I found on Pinterest.
– If it’s my husband… I try to find 10-15 minutes to just sit with him on our backyard swinging bench. It brings me such peace to sit there with him even if we’re not talking.
– If it’s my house, I pick one or two big surfaces to completely clear off. Uncluttered surfaces bring me genuine joy!
– If it’s my finances, I update my budget. I’m an excel geek so this does actually bring me joy and calms me down.
– If it’s my blog, I find a new plugin to try or a new aspect of design to change. Secret: I like building websites more than actually blogging so I have to limit how often I dink around with my site ;o)
- DO THAT THING!
Ladies I listen to you and you all have such beautiful hearts. You love your children and your husband’s. You’re trying to walk everyday with the Lord and I know how hard that can be in this modern world we live in. My hope for you is that one of these articles will speak to your heart and help you to grow closer to Him. That may look different for each one of us but it’s absolutely something we all need.
Please print and fill out this worksheet so you can work on the two pearls of wisdom I shared today. Let me know how I can pray for you and let me know if you have any questions at all!
You can give up these things. Remember, with the Holy Spirit, anything is possible!