Jul 29, 2019 818 Joe Manicone

Is Your Conviction Real?

You Will Not Have Your Mission Until You Have Your Conviction

Discover Your Mission

Have you heard about the story of a wedding feast in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke? The story goes on like this: “The Kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He sent out his servants to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, but they were unwilling to come…” They made excuses like going to see a field, trying out new oxen and just getting married.

Can you see yourself being invited for this feast? When I consider this, I see how blessed I have been with the fire of the Holy Spirit. I go often to this awesome prayer meeting. I attend mass, where we enter heaven and get fed at a feast. So I am not the one saying “no” to the banquet. Maybe I am one of the messengers, but am I really a faithful messenger? Do I go out with conviction?

Some time ago, an eighth-grader in my CCD class asked me, “Mr. Manicone, what is your mission? How did God let you know what it is?” He caught me off guard for a second. Then I explained, “The Lord made it known to me and remolded me back to the man He meant me to be.” I even shared a dream and a vision with them, but the question kept coming back in my mind.

After a lot of wrestling, I finally came to this conclusion. My mission is about going out—acting, caring, and doing. And a great fact became clear to me, “You will not have your mission until you have your conviction.”

Do I have a real conviction? I have to take a look at what I have conviction about: Drinking my morning coffee? My prayers? Do I share the blessings of the prayer group meetings and the Holy Spirit? I recently heard of my friend trying to get a notice about a charismatic retreat in parish bulletins and no one would allow it. Am I full of conviction to try to get such notices shared? Have you realized, we are losing the battle with many today who have a complacent spirit—a “cannot do” spirit. This is sadly, a great weapon of Satan.

Ready to Take the Risk?

Recently while I was taking a walk back home, I happened to notice a big leaf falling. I ran forward and actually caught it. This happened right after I had prayed about what the Lord was saying to me. A few days later, I realized the point. I went right back to the spot and, as the leaves fell, I reached out but I could not catch any. Then finally I saw a tiny leaf dancing around. I watched the leaf darting so much that I really doubted if I could catch it. Then it drifted right into my hand.

I looked down at it. It was so beaten, eaten up, ripped apart and now dead brown in color after giving all its life. This leaf had lived out its purpose—its conviction. It was living to glorify God the best it could. There are many poor people in this world, underprivileged and abandoned. Just like these little leaves, their lives are falling, ripped apart, and eaten up by the world. We really need to reach out to them before they hit the ground and die alone.

When my dentist friend told me that she is going to serve a mission in Haiti, I thought, “How can you risk your successful life and your children’s lives?” But then I realized that she loves the Lord more than herself and her family. The poor in Haiti need someone, so she will go to them for a manageable time. We should not let the poor leaves in our path fall to the ground, beaten and alone.

What is the great fruit of conviction? It energizes other believers—supercharges them. When I am around a person who has a real conviction, he or she cheers me on. I cheer him or her on as well whenever I see him or her glorifying the Lord.

Never Give Up!

While I was growing up, I hated every word my Mom told me about helping people. Now I treasure every word she spoke then. Somehow I did hear those messages. I saw her speaking to strangers and friends as she suffered for years with cancer. She would say with all her heart, “You must come to know Jesus!” Yes—that is where conviction comes from.

I feel that the seeds of true conviction must be sown right from the early years of life. So do not ever give up on the young. No matter how they appear, they really are hungry for the gift of knowing God. If they look like they are not paying attention, do not give up. I teach CCD and the kids are catching fire. I do not have a lot of knowledge but I do have a conviction. So let us all pray that Jesus deepens the gift of conviction in us. Let us go out with a deep and strong conviction and radiate the light of Christ to those around us.

Joe Manicone

©Joe Manicone © is a Catholic layman committed to his journey with Jesus. He has a heart for the elderly in nursing homes, young people, adult single peers and responding with conviction to many needs. Joe lives in Pompton Plains, New Jersey.


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