Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer

Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer

by Thomas Dubay, S.M. (2006)

Some may wonder why, when on our recent men’s retreat, whose theme was about being Catholic men/fathers–why would I write and share something (The fires of Hell are the fires of God) that didn’t really specifically fit the theme.

This book is largely why. I will let a quote do the talking for me.

‘When I give retreats to married couples I address this issue head on: “You husbands and fathers say that you love your wives and children. OK, I am going to take you seriously. Now if you love them really (that is, for their genuine welfare and not simply for what you can get from them or whether they do or do not return your love as you would like it to be returned)–I repeat, if you love them really, then prove it in the best possible way: become a saint, get rid of your faults, love totally. Why is this the best thing you can do for them? Your impact for their genuine, eternal welfare will be tremendous. Yes, you also show love for your wife and children by putting bread on the table and a roof over their heads, but the best proof of genuine love is found in the example of an exemplary life: a tremendous spur to their eternal enthrallment, and yours as well.”‘

– pp. 60-61



2 thoughts on “Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer”

  1. To augment the point (at the tail end of the Solemnity of St. Joseph), here is a pithy quote from G.K. Chesterton’s Heretics from 1905, from Chapter II, “On the negative spirit”:

    In the opening pages of that excellent book MANKIND IN THE MAKING, [H. G. Wells] dismisses the ideals of art, religion, abstract morality, and the rest, and says that he is going to consider men in their chief function, the function of parenthood. He is going to discuss life as a “tissue of births.” He is not going to ask what will produce satisfactory saints or satisfactory heroes, but what will produce satisfactory fathers and mothers. The whole is set forward so sensibly that it is a few moments at least before the reader realises that it is another example of unconscious shirking. What is the good of begetting a man until we have settled what is the good of being a man? You are merely handing on to him a problem you dare not settle yourself. It is as if a man were asked, “What is the use of a hammer?” and answered, “To make hammers”; and when asked, “And of those hammers, what is the use?” answered, “To make hammers again”. Just as such a man would be perpetually putting off the question of the ultimate use of carpentry, so Mr. Wells and all the rest of us are by these phrases successfully putting off the question of the ultimate value of the human life.

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