Have you ever done a complete 180 and changed your thinking about something to the opposite of what you originally thought? In our highly-charged political climate, that is often called a flip-flop and it is seen as negative or weak.
But what if your flip-flop turns you away from something bad and toward something good? How can that be negative?
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, who arguably made one of the biggest 180’s of all time. St. Paul was originally known as Saul, meaning the destroyer, and he cruelly persecuted Christians and sought to expand terror against them. As stated in the book of Acts, “Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.” It was his goal to capture and arrest Christians, to bring them to trial and execution. (Sounds a bit like today’s terrorists, doesn’t it?)
However, when Saul was on the road to Damascus he came across the blinding light of a vision of Jesus. He heard the voice of Jesus asking him why he was persecuting his followers. He was literally blinded for three days, until he was healed by a Christian and scales fell from his eyes. From them on, he proclaimed the divinity of Jesus Christ and later became known as Paul. He became a pillar of Christianity and worked to “present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me” (Colossians 1:28b-29). He traveled to spread the news of Christ, wrote much of what became the New Testament and was eventually martyred for his faith.
Talk about a flip-flop…but such a good one!
Positive conversions are something we often see at CCL with couples who previously contracepted and later decided to practice natural family planning. Not only are these conversions beneficial for the women’s health but couples have found their decisions have improved, and in some cases even saved, their marriages. Take Matt and Shannon, who used birth control and condoms which resulted in two unplanned pregnancies and they felt their marriage was ending…until they found NFP:
“Starting with NFP was a total lifestyle change. It changed the way we viewed our sexuality, our marriage, each other, our children, our goals and nearly every other aspect of life. This has taken us from the brink of just being another divorce statistic to having a marriage that keeps getting better, stronger and more joyful.” (Read all of Matt and Shannon’s story of conversion here)
Additionally, there are couples like Ben and Vanessa who found their faith again (and subsequently NFP) after their apartment complex burned down nine days before they were supposed to move in.
“We began our marriage preparation with a young priest in our local parish, Father Seamus Griesbach. We were both guarded and uncomfortable at first. Father Seamus encouraged us to attend a Catholic young adult group he led. This group was the first place I had been able to ask any question about the Catholic Church and receive a valid answer that made sense. It became one of the most influential pieces in our conversion process.” (Read all of Ben and Vanessa’s story of conversion here.)
These are real couples who found conversion in their thinking about birth control, and even in their faith as St. Paul did, and have experienced joy in their lives and marriages as a result.
Do you or someone you know need to flip-flop on the issue of birth control? In honor of St. Paul, consider a conversion to natural family planning, or share this with someone else who might be ready for a change!
— Megan Imwalle