Conversio and Conversasio

Photo: Laurence Freeman, Trinidad

There are two words in Latin which apply to this idea. One is conversio, and conversio really refers to particular moments, particular decisions that you take to change something in your life. There may be a struggle, but it’s a limited but maybe important stage in your development, in your journey, where you make a break from the past. But it’s also something limited. It’s an act of change that you consent to or that you make and maybe have to remake as well. 

The other word, this is actually the word that Saint Benedict uses for conversion, is conversasio. And the Benedictine monk and oblate actually takes a vow of conversasio. And conversasio is a commitment of your whole self to the ongoing process. It gives us almost the word ‘conversation’, sjo it’s not just exchanging one or two pieces of information. It’s about entering into a life-changing relationship or conversation, a turning of the whole self towards God. 

(The Art of Waiting by Laurence Freeman OSB)

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