22. FROM THE OLD MAN TO THE NEW MAN. Conversion

Created: Monday, 02 September 2013 Last Updated: Monday, 31 March 2014

22. FROM THE OLD MAN TO THE NEW MAN
Conversion


1. The faith experience means a deep change, a step from the old man to the new man. That change places the man in a new relationship respect to God, respect to the others and, even respect himself. The believer feels himself in relation with God and with his brothers. He is the man of the Alliance. In the accomplishment of this Alliance consists the whole law and the prophets.

2. This deep change is called conversion. From the beginning, the Christian community distinguishes between first conversion, second conversion and continuous conversion. The first conversion is the one of that who embraces the Gospel (Acts 2, 38). The second conversion is that of those who made a grave fault and they are reconciled (Jn 20, 22 – 23), it is “the second board after the shipwreck” (Trent, DS 1542). The continuous conversion is that of the believer who must often ask with humbleness: “Forgive us our offences” (Mk 6, 12; DS 1536)

3. The sin configures the man like old man. However, the man does not recognize by himself that he is a sinner. He needs the spirit to come and to convince the world of the sin (Jn 16, 8). Looked things from God, all human facts are under the sign of the grace and the dis-grace. Rupture of man with God is the root of all the other ruptures: “Often refusing to acknowledge God as his beginning, man has disrupted also his proper relationship to his own ultimate goal as well as his whole relationship toward himself and others and all created things blocking his path to fulfilment” (GS 13)

4. Sin appears like drought and parching of a land designed by God to be fertile and productive: “For my people have done two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, to dig for themselves leaking cisterns that hold no water!” (Jr 2, 13). Sin leaves man with a thirst that nobody can turn off. The call to conversion invites to turn off that thirst: “Come here, all you who are thirsty, come to the water!” (Is 55, 1). It is the call that Jesus makes to the female Samaritan: “If you only knew the Gift of God! If you knew who it is that asks you for a drink, you yourself would have asked me and I would have given you living water.” “those who drink of the water that I shall give will never be thirsty; for the water that I shall give will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (Jn 4, 10 – 14). Conversion is a step from the thirst to the water of life.

5. Sin also appears like a blindness that impedes to see God´s action in the nature and in the history. In this sense, all of us are blind from birth. Our original blindness must be cures clean ourselves in the pool of the Messenger, id est, in the Christian community: “As Jesus said this, he made paste with spittle and clay and rubbed it on the eyes of the blind man. Then he said, “Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam.” (This name means sent.) So he went and washed and came back able to see.” (Jn 9, 6 – 7). Conversion is a step from blindness to light.

6. Sin also appears as death that hampers the true life. As in the passages of the Samaritan and the born blind, the passage of Lazarus belongs to the old catechumenal liturgy and, inside it, to the third, forth and fifth Easter Sundays. The man that is born to the faith is, like Lazarus, a man to whom Jesus makes to go out of his tomb and that he returns to life: “Lazarus, come out” (Jn 11, 43). Conversion is a step from death to life.

7. From the thirst to the living water, from the blindness to the light, from the death to the life. The step from the old man to the new man is a deep change, a new birth by the strength of the spirit. As Jesus says to  Nicodemus: ““Truly, I say to you: No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Because of this, don’t be surprised when I say: ‘You must be born again from above.’ The wind blows where it pleases and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  (Jn 3, 5 – 8)