“To convert somebody go and take them by the hand and guide them.” ~Thomas Aquinas
There are many different methods to convert someone. Some are very hands-on and others are extremely remote. The best method — for almost anything, as a matter of fact — is the one whereby someone can walk with another on his or her journey. It does no good to tell someone what to do while not engaging with that person or being some part of that person’s life.
There are “conversion” people who are more brain washers than anything else. They indoctrinate someone into their way of thinking but never take a personal interest in them. Their whole goal is to remake that person into a certain image and likeness. That is a danger and a threat to the person being “converted”.
The one who truly cares about another would never do anything to make someone feel threatened or coerced. They would want the potential convert to experience nothing but care and concern.
That is taking place in this morning’s reading for Mass. Paul had been imprisoned for preaching the Word. While in prison, an angel appeared to him and an earthquake shook the building so violently that the prison bars were opened and the chains on their arms were shaken loose.
The jailer, who saw the doors open, was ready to commit suicide because he thought his prisoners had fled. Paul shouted out to him, encouraging him to stay his hand and letting him know that the prisoners were still in their cells. The guard was so moved by Paul’s concern for him that he listened with an open heart and became a convert to the faith.
Paul and the others could have escaped. The effect would have been that the guards would have lost their lives, either at their own hands or at the hand of the emperor. Instead, Paul remained so that he could share his faith in the Risen Lord.
We have choices to make every day. Our choices often affect others around us, for ill or for good. May our choices be wise ones this day.
FAITH ACTION: Choose your words and actions carefully today. You never know who you may inspire to embrace the Lord.