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SPEAK UP Hyderabad Province (INH)

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CASTILINO Vincent, Hyderabad says,
Conversion as change of heart
By Vincent Castilino
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Hyderabad, Nov. 3. My conversion was not a change of religion; it was a change of heart. That`s the tagline of the article by Anand Mahadevan (editor of Outlook Business) in the Outlook magazine (October 27, 2008 p. 30). We often talk and `fight` for our Church and religion but do we dare stand by the person of CHRIST (privately and in public)?

For those who haven`t read the article, it would be good read that first (Outlook 27 October 2008 p. 30). What I liked best of the frank sharing of Anand Mahadevan (and of the Outlook magazine which dared publish that opinion, whatever the reasons) is the frankness with which it lays bare facts and deep convictions. There is no debate here... no arguments. Just plain testimony of one who was open to being touched by the person of Jesus and is today taking a public stand for Christ (not necessarily for Christianity). We have several people, beginning with our Bishops - myself, included - who would stand for Christianity... but the real point here is: Do I stand for CHRIST?

I think we need people who can, first of all, stand by Christ and then authoritatively speak for Christ today. Not merely squabble over Church and Christianity (religion). I certainly agree with Mahadevan when he says that what he acquired that evening was not a religion... it was an intimate relationship with Jesus. How many of us religious can claim that. We certainly would stand tall and shout aloud that we are born Catholics but can we at least whisper in our own hearts these words: I know Him as the pure and sinless Son of a Holy God. And I know Him as a dear friend to whom I pray and talk to every day-about my career, my dreams, successes, failures, finances and even my sexuality (Anand Mahadevan).

As for Mahadevan`s evangelisation and proclamation, heres` it: If I read a good book, watch a good movie or eat a good meal at a new restaurant, I would naturally tell my friends about it.In Jesus, I have discovered a truly amazing friend, guide, leader, saviour and God. How can I not tell all my friends about Him? And if anyone does listen and he too comes to believe in Jesus, I am delighted. The world would call it a conversion; I call it a change of heart, like mine.

Lord grant me the strength, if not to claim, at least to strive for this grace... to be able to whisper in my heart, that I know You and that You are mine!

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