Brothers who stretch out their hands
I go to prepare you a place for you.
André Frossard (1915-1999) was the son of the founder of the French Communist Party. He wrote "A God exists". I met him: The incredible story of his conversion.
While I was pushing the iron gate of the convent I was an atheist. Atheism takes many forms. There is a philosophical atheism, which likens God to nature, refuses to give Him a personality of his own and tries to find every solution in the human intelligence, nothing is God, everything is divine. The scientific atheism rejects the hypothesis of a God and tries to explain the world with only the properties of the material of which no one has to ask the source. The Marxist atheism is even more radical: not merely to deny God, but if by chance He did exists, would put him at the door, because His presence would be inappropriate hindrance to the free play of the human will. There is also a kind of widespread atheism, that I know well because it was my stupid atheism . This atheism does not arise questions. It finds natural to live on a ball of fire covered by a thin shell of dried mud, which rotates at supersonic speed on itself and around a sort of a hydrogen bomb, dragged into the rotary motion by billions of lanterns whose origin is an enigma and whose destination is unknown. As I walked through that door I was the atheist that I have described, and such I still was inside the chapel. In the group of the faithful, against the light, I saw only shadows and I could not see my friend, a kind of sun was shining at the bottom of the building I did not know that it was the Blessed Sacrament. No pain of love tormented me, indeed, that night I had to have a meeting with a new woman.
I was not worried, I was not curious. Religion was an old chimera, Christians lingered along the path of evolution: history was on our side, the leftist, and the problem of God had been solved in the negative by at least two or three centuries. In our environment, religion seemed so outdated that we were anti-clerical only during electoral campaigns. And then the unexpected happened. As a result, they wanted me to admit, at any cost, that faith was in me from the beginning, that it was present unbeknown to me, that my conversion was only the sudden awareness of a mental disposition that had long destined me to believe. It was a mistake. If there was a predisposition in me, it was just irony towards religion and if one word could define my mental disposition, the more appropriate term would have been indifference. I still see him , the twenty years old boy I was then, I have not forgotten the wonder that seized him when, from the depths of the chapel, of no particular beauty, suddenly saw the rise of a world in front of him, another world of unbearable splendor, crazy density, whose light revealed and concealed at the same time the presence of God, the God who, a moment before, he would have sworn, had never existed except in the imagination of men; at the same time he was submerged by a wave, which was rampant with joy and sweetness, a flood whose power broke his heart and that he never forgot, even in the darkest moments of a life invested, more than once, by horror and by misfortune; he had no other task, since then, than to bear witness to this sweetness and this heartbreaking purity of God who, that day, showed him of what kind of mud he was made.
You ask me who am I ? I can answer: I am composed of a something murky, full of nothing, of darkness and sin, who, because of a form of vanity could attribute to himself more darkness than is possible and contain more sins than you can commit, on the other hand, my nothingness is undeniable, it is my only treasure, I know, it's like an infinite void offered to the infinite generosity of God. I did not see this light through the eyes of the body, because it was not one that enlightens us or that tans: it was a spiritual light, a light that is a teacher, it was almost the truth in an incandescent state. It did finally flip the usual order of things. I might even say that, since I glimpsed at it, for me there is only God and that everything else is just a guess. They told me many times: "What happened to your free will? It seems that anything can be done to you. Your father is a socialist, and you became a socialist, you go into a church and become a Christian. Had you entered a pagoda, would you be a Buddhist and would you be a Muslim if you had entered a mosque".
To which I might respond that sometimes to me it happens to get out of a station without becoming a train. As for my own free will, I can claim to have it only after my conversion, when I realized that only God could save us from all forms of enslavement in which, without him, we would surely be doomed to. I insist. It was an objective experience, it was almost a physical experiment, and I have nothing more precious to convey than this message: beyond, or rather across the world that surrounds us and of which we are a part, there is another reality infinitely more concrete and this reality is the final one, about which there are no more questions.
(By A. Frossard, God Applications of man, Piemme, Casale Monferrato, 1990).