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A Good Friday Convert

Guest Column

By Rawley Myers | April 1992
The Rev. Rawley Myers is an assisting priest at St. Mary's Parish in Colorado Springs. Formerly a chaplain at the University of Nebraska, he is the author of 12 books.

Clare Boothe Luce was one of the most articulate and famous American women of this century. When she became a Catholic, in­structed by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen in 1947, it caused a sensation. She was the wife of Henry Luce of the Time and Life magazine empire. She had been a distinguished editor and writ­er, and had three long-running plays on Broadway. She was also a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and Ambassador to Italy.

She wrote about her conversion in beauti­ful terms. She said she gave “complete intel­lectual assent to Catholic truth” because it has the answers to the great mysteries of life and death. She was most grateful for “being ab­sorbed in the miracle of Christ’s love.” She praised God who “gave me the desire, the eager thirst, the burning fire for seeking Him.” She felt her soul had turned from darkness, from love of self, to love of God. She had eagerly run to God, knowing of course that in reality God had come down to her.

She said a conversion is the climax of a thousand secret graces. The convert is a per­son who knows well that God is truly at work in the world. People, chance encounters, books read, and books unread are all instruments of God’s grace.

She wrote, “All the past, sweet and bitter, harsh and gentle, brilliant or shabby, is sowing the seed for conversion…. All things are prep­arations in the soul for the blossoming of faith.” But Luce said that most converts are Good Friday converts like herself. “They enter God’s kingdom through the gates of pain.” They discover that God is plowing up their hard hearts. “Grief is God’s messenger,” she wrote. “The bitterness, the anger, the tumultu­ous passion with which one greets this dark guest hides its blessed nature.” Luce had lost her popular, beautiful daughter in an automo­bile accident. She said that “gold and silver are tried in the fire.” But then despair gives way to light. Suffering can be for wayward hearts an encounter with the Divine.

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