We can all become prone to taking our faith for granted. How many of us Catholics “rest assured” that we can do what we want and live how we want because we have the Sacrament of Confession to “fix that”? Of course, that’s not what the sacraments are for and not how we are to approach our faith. We are given a “re-do” by our Lord because while we are called to be perfect and never stop trying, doesn’t want us to give up trying.
We have the Holy Spirit to thank for all of this. Whether we’re converts or “reverts” or we never left practicing our faith but have had “a fire lit” in our hearts to live our faith with renewed commitment; this is rebirth. Perhaps as a convert but surely as a priest, I have heard many life-long Catholics tell me that they admire converts because “they chose their faith” versus being handed on their faith from their family, most especially their parents. There may be a point to this; but from my place as a convert I have a deep admiration for the people who have chosen their faith as young people, teens, adults and older in life and grew up in a faith-filled home. I am blessed to have a good family, but faith wasn’t a part of my life or my upbringing. I am definitely in the minority as a convert who became a priest. Most of the men I work directly with as Director of Vocations and the many people I meet, women and men who seriously discern their vocations have had faith present throughout their lives, in their homes, their schools, all around them. Most of them have had occasion to be lukewarm or even not-practicing, but the Lord brought them back.
Today, we celebrate being born of the Spirit, reborn in Christ and pray for many more to experience what Jesus talks about with Nicodemus in today’s Gospel. May we reflect a little more deeply upon our faith today and remind ourselves that Jesus’ gift of a “do-over” is meant so that we may come completely back to God and engage ourselves, powerfully, properly and necessarily in the work of being dedicated Disciples, followers (and not merely admirers) of Jesus Christ. May God bless you.