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I was baptized

What else do I need to do?

Once I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and savior, am I not saved? Once I go through the RCIA program and am baptized, confirmed, and receive my first Communion, what more is needed? Ongoing conversion is something people talk about but find difficult to do. It’s sort of like entering into an exercise program, nice to talk about it but hard to do it, and even harder to sustain it.

 In an age of instant breakfast, instant Internet and instant news, we can quickly shift our attention to other interests. It’s like spending the day with a cell phone attached to our ears – lots of talk, little action.

Ask yourself, does Tiger Woods continue to practice, even though he has made it as the world’s top golfer? Professional basketball players, baseball players and athletes in all sports continue to work to improve even though they are at the top of their games. If you’re into a “do-it-yourself spirituality,” you are likely to be at a spiritual D+ grade and need some real work to improve.

Why do we think that once we’ve been confirmed we don’t need to go to Mass very much any more? When I was 27 years old, I entered the seminary and spent seven years learning about our Catholic faith. I was not ordained a priest until I was 34, and I’m still learning about our faith.

Imagine yourself driving your car and the windshield is covered with winter’s slush. A squirt or two of washer fluid and some action with the wipers may get you by in terms of seeing where you’re going. But when the sun comes out, you’ll notice every smudge and ding on your windshield. Well, when you’re facing the light of the Son of God, a similar situation faces you. In his bright light, you will – if you are honest with yourself – realize that the window of your soul needs some cleaning up, some ongoing conversion in your spiritual life.

This time of the year is filled with new beginnings. Instead of a nice, pious New Year’s resolution that will meet the fate of other resolutions, make a firm commitment to enter into a genuine and effective conversion in the way you do things and live your life with God in Christ. Insta-pay may be effective in managing your finances, but it doesn’t work when it comes to deploying your spiritual treasures.

All of us need ongoing conversion, including me.