Signposts on the way to conversion

What pieces of art have helped you in your conversion? Anything, paintings, movies, theatre, music…whatever gave you a deeper understanding of Christ’s sacrifice, the Church, etc.

For me, the movie “The Mission” was a major experience. I didn’t know much about the Church or missions beyond references in college classes that lumped them together with military intervention as “colonists.” This movie made me rethink that. The intense penance of DeNiro’s character was so beautiful and bewildering to me. In my Protestant upbringing you just confessed your sin to God and then continued on without looking back. Continued guilt was an enemy. There’s so much in this movie that I have to go back and watch it every now and again.

This painting made my cry the first time I saw it. It just stunned me.

What about you?

I played a nun in Poulenc’s opera “Dialogue of the Carmelites.” It was a profound experience, especially the martyrdom scene. Although I was over ten years away from returning to Christ, that story remained a compelling memory and one that often occupied my thoughts.

There was also a song we used to sing at mass when I was in high school that I never forgot, and used to sing all the time – I can hardly wait to get my guitar back so I can start relearning how to play that song again.

The most compelling art for me, however, were Catholic churches – their structure, the windows, the statues, etc. God is good, and He made true in my heart the words of the Psalm: Better is one day in your house than a thousand elsewhere.


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