“If you have ever found yourself locked in a cycle of self-sufficiency and self-loathing and wondered how to get out . . . if you’ve ever longed to stop competing and comparing and just start living . . . if you’ve ever worried that your high standards are choking the life out of your marriage or your children or your own soul . . . take the first step on this road toward true Christian perfection.” (The Heart of Perfection, 27)
There is a rich tradition in the Church surrounding guardian angels that goes far beyond the image of a tiny angel perched on one shoulder, opposing the devil perched on the other. Though guardian angels were not given an official feast day until Pope Paul V declared it one in the early 1600s, the Church’s teaching on guardian angels is rooted deeply in both Scripture and Tradition.
“If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.”
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul (Rockford: Tan Books, 1997), p. 2
I first encountered “As Kingfishers Catch Fire” in a homily. While I don’t fully remember the homily itself, this poem has stayed with me ever since—enough that I even bought a book of Hopkins’ poems. I keep coming back to it because it helps me to recall and envision the grace-filled life that God desires for me.
I love a good conversion story. From Augustine’s Confessions to Jennifer Fulwiler’s Something Other than God, I am drawn to the stories of those who have been transformed by the Truth found in Christ. Since I don’t fit the standard definition of a “convert,” I used to read these beautiful stories of conversion for the simple yet profound way they inspired me to appreciate my own faith and see it with a new perspective. But then I became a parent. I began a journey that changed my outlook on conversion and challenged me to see it as an absolutely essential element of faith for any Christian.