CVS Meta - 2012-01-22 - The Father Martin interview

Author Recorded Sunday January 22nd, 2012

There are 19 episodes in the Meta:Rants series.


Father Martin is a Franciscan Monk and Priest from Madagascar. I met him in 2012 and he asked to interview me about my conversion from Atheistic-Satanism to Catholicism. Click the CC button for english subtitles.


CVS Meta - 2012-01-22 - The Father Martin interview

Author Recorded January 22nd, 2012

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These YouTube transcripts are generated automatically and are therefore unformatted and replete with errors.
1 00:00:02,333 --> 00:00:06,539 «The wind blows where it wills.» (John 3: 8) 2 00:00:06,539 --> 00:00:11,901 >>Fr. Martin: Hello David, and thanks for being with us. 3 00:00:12,694 --> 00:00:16,939 «Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.» (Jeremiah 1: 5) 4 00:00:17,179 --> 00:00:20,418 >>Fr. Martin: Divine providence has its ways and its designs, 5 00:00:20,703 --> 00:00:22,387 and it is by chance that we first met 6 00:00:22,661 --> 00:00:25,740 at the Monastic Fraternity of Jerusalem. 7 00:00:35,540 --> 00:00:42,128 «Deliver me according to your promise.» (Psalm 119: 170) 8 00:00:48,466 --> 00:00:53,171 «Let my lips overflow with praise.» (Psalm 119: 171) 9 00:01:10,593 --> 00:01:12,910 >>Fr. Martin: It was a great pleasure to meet you 10 00:01:13,369 --> 00:01:17,256 there among the monks. So now you have agreed to this 11 00:01:17,403 --> 00:01:26,771 informal interview. David, tell me a little about yourself, 12 00:01:26,978 --> 00:01:32,645 and about your life prior to your conversion. 13 00:01:32,940 --> 00:01:41,022 >>David: Ok. Well, thank you for having me. My name is David. 14 00:01:41,255 --> 00:01:46,254 I was born in Ontario into an ordinary family. 15 00:01:46,483 --> 00:01:50,410 Ontario is very Protestant, so I was born into a Protestant family. 16 00:01:50,722 --> 00:01:58,209 It was a good family, a normal family; my mother loved me, 17 00:01:58,515 --> 00:02:01,569 my father loved me—we all loved each other. 18 00:02:01,709 --> 00:02:08,403 I had a faith in Jesus Christ—a completely naive faith, 19 00:02:08,546 --> 00:02:12,139 I could say, because I didn't intellectualize it, 20 00:02:12,322 --> 00:02:13,690 I didn't think too much about it, 21 00:02:13,971 --> 00:02:16,922 I simply accepted the love of God. I prayed nightly, 22 00:02:17,209 --> 00:02:21,169 as I was taught to do by my Mother and by the Protestant church. 23 00:02:21,453 --> 00:02:25,139 I also have two sisters. Actually, I have three sisters 24 00:02:25,424 --> 00:02:32,565 but one died just after childbirth and consequently 25 00:02:32,851 --> 00:02:34,721 a third girl was adopted into our family—and so I still have 26 00:02:35,010 --> 00:02:39,113 two sisters. But it's a normal family—it's true that my mother 27 00:02:39,409 --> 00:02:42,347 suffered great pain and suffers from depression and other 28 00:02:42,631 --> 00:02:45,677 psychological problems because she lost her daughter, which is 29 00:02:45,964 --> 00:02:48,491 very painful, so she had difficulty with that, 30 00:02:48,774 --> 00:02:50,522 but otherwise it's an ordinary family. 31 00:02:50,806 --> 00:02:58,784 But as concerns my faith, I lost my faith at the age of 14. 32 00:03:00,272 --> 00:03:02,132 «I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.» (Isaiah 49: 16) 33 00:03:02,794 --> 00:03:07,290 ...and so I remember the precise moment when I lost my faith in 34 00:03:07,579 --> 00:03:12,067 Jesus Christ—in God, in fact—and with that my rebellion began. 35 00:03:12,323 --> 00:03:15,618 I think it's entirely normal, we see it everywhere, 36 00:03:15,851 --> 00:03:18,008 in every corner of the world, people who begin 37 00:03:18,291 --> 00:03:24,067 their rebellious years at age 14, 15, or 16, 38 00:03:24,353 --> 00:03:30,162 but for me it lasted a very long time. In fact, for me it lasted 39 00:03:30,448 --> 00:03:33,885 right up until my adult conversion at thirty-nine years of age, 40 00:03:34,172 --> 00:03:39,193 so, it was a long rebellion, and I am ashamed of that. 41 00:03:39,477 --> 00:03:44,366 But I have read somewhere that it's like a contract. 42 00:03:44,652 --> 00:03:49,025 All my rebellion and such is like a contract that I have with 43 00:03:49,306 --> 00:03:53,002 Jesus, with God, in order that I never forget what He did for me, 44 00:03:53,283 --> 00:03:57,604 and that it's clear that I am weak and poor 45 00:03:57,862 --> 00:03:59,618 and that I need to be saved. 46 00:03:59,898 --> 00:04:07,874 So that's it. I lived a total of 39 years before my conversion, 47 00:04:08,154 --> 00:04:12,387 but I lived 25 of those years as an atheist. 48 00:04:14,303 --> 00:04:16,594 «Who then is God to love us so, son of the Earth?» (prayer) 49 00:04:16,878 --> 00:04:22,106 >>Fr. Martin: How, then, do you see the atheist life? 50 00:04:22,388 --> 00:04:23,994 Tell me a little about that. 51 00:04:24,274 --> 00:04:30,778 >>David: I see the atheist life very clearly, now. In the past 52 00:04:31,064 --> 00:04:34,777 I lived the atheist life in a state of complete confusion. 53 00:04:35,056 --> 00:04:42,202 To be an atheist, as I myself was, is to say that the world is 54 00:04:42,485 --> 00:04:47,459 absurd. «I am. I am the source of my own existence. 55 00:04:47,743 --> 00:04:50,260 I am god, in a certain sense, and there is no explanation. 56 00:04:50,542 --> 00:04:54,330 I am a lost god, a god who is dreaming, 57 00:04:54,613 --> 00:04:58,673 I am a god who imagines, who creates. I am a god, and 58 00:04:58,989 --> 00:05:03,317 all the suffering on the news and so forth is not real. 59 00:05:03,553 --> 00:05:07,138 There is no suffering. I am not suffering. I exist, 60 00:05:07,417 --> 00:05:10,730 and the world around me is just a video game.» 61 00:05:11,014 --> 00:05:19,083 That is the absurdity of the atheist life. I lived in this absurdity 62 00:05:19,393 --> 00:05:24,930 and for me it was magnificent because it was reality—the 63 00:05:25,210 --> 00:05:29,874 fundamental reality was absurdity. Now I am converted to God, 64 00:05:30,152 --> 00:05:35,037 thanks to philosophy and much reading. 65 00:05:35,317 --> 00:05:42,412 And I attacked the Christian Church, I targeted the bible 66 00:05:42,687 --> 00:05:46,098 saying to myself «Oh, this really is nonsense, it's so stupid.» 67 00:05:46,374 --> 00:05:50,333 And so I attacked the bible, God, Jesus and the Church. 68 00:05:50,607 --> 00:05:54,666 I read a lot about the history of the Catholic Church 69 00:05:54,944 --> 00:05:58,402 and the Popes and all kinds of things, in order to target them, 70 00:05:58,681 --> 00:06:04,761 to mock them, to undermine all this bull. Excuse my language. 71 00:06:05,041 --> 00:06:10,042 But, that's it; it was a hatred of these so called truths, 72 00:06:10,321 --> 00:06:14,481 because for me the only truth was absurdity. 73 00:06:16,698 --> 00:06:18,779 «I am God and not a man.» (Hosea 11: 9) 74 00:06:19,090 --> 00:06:23,922 ...Now I am converted to God, so I see atheism differently. 75 00:06:24,201 --> 00:06:29,105 I see atheism all around me—it's everywhere. 76 00:06:29,391 --> 00:06:36,890 I see it as a lack of hope, a lack of faith, and a lack 77 00:06:37,174 --> 00:06:43,949 —just that, a lack. So, that's it. I see it differently. 78 00:06:46,572 --> 00:06:50,041 «God created man in his own image.» (Genesis 1: 27) 79 00:06:50,324 --> 00:06:54,666 >>Fr. Martin: Give me a concrete example 80 00:06:54,949 --> 00:06:56,826 of this absurdity that you lived, a concrete event— 81 00:06:57,110 --> 00:06:58,842 >>David: Sin! In a word, sin. I do what I will. 82 00:06:59,077 --> 00:07:06,954 «My will be done» was my daily prayer. 83 00:07:07,247 --> 00:07:11,537 «My will be done on Earth and there is no Heaven.» 84 00:07:11,799 --> 00:07:20,900 Heaven is a myth, God is a myth, and Satan is a myth. 85 00:07:21,182 --> 00:07:25,234 So I played with these myths, saying, 86 00:07:25,544 --> 00:07:30,497 «Well, I think that Christianity is a lie, God is a lie, 87 00:07:30,778 --> 00:07:35,676 and Satan is a lie—but at least Satan has power over the Earth. 88 00:07:35,918 --> 00:07:41,801 And I know the Earth, I live on Earth. I have pleasure, I have food, 89 00:07:42,088 --> 00:07:47,225 I have drink, I have sex—I have everything here on Earth. 90 00:07:47,509 --> 00:07:50,382 So hail Satan!» Because here, according to the 91 00:07:50,670 --> 00:07:56,841 Christian mythology, I said to myself, it's the domain of Satan 92 00:07:57,124 --> 00:08:00,962 here on Earth, so hail Satan! Because it is here that we have life. 93 00:08:01,254 --> 00:08:06,274 The good life is not in Heaven; it's boring up there, 94 00:08:06,516 --> 00:08:10,826 because God is stupid, and so on. So, having all this in my head, 95 00:08:11,116 --> 00:08:15,466 this atheistic philosophy, created in me 96 00:08:15,760 --> 00:08:20,433 a sort of tongue-in-cheek Satanism. 97 00:08:20,703 --> 00:08:26,025 Because only I existed—only I was God. So it is sin, 98 00:08:26,308 --> 00:08:32,275 but it's not referred to as sin, it's simply my will. I do what I will. 99 00:08:33,786 --> 00:08:36,898 «The lost sheep I will seek, until found.» (Ezekiel 34: 16) 100 00:08:37,434 --> 00:08:41,460 And, in fact, we can see this attitude in the atheists of our day; 101 00:08:41,743 --> 00:08:47,955 they don't have any solid reason to be good. If I ask them, 102 00:08:48,235 --> 00:08:51,427 «Why are you good?» they will answer, 103 00:08:51,706 --> 00:08:57,029 «Because if I choose actions which are criminal or hurtful, 104 00:08:57,312 --> 00:09:03,683 there will be negative reactions and consequences. 105 00:09:03,963 --> 00:09:08,962 So it's hazardous.» It’s just a pragmatic choice, really. 106 00:09:09,236 --> 00:09:15,761 And when I was atheist I didn't kill anyone or do any big crimes, 107 00:09:16,041 --> 00:09:18,337 or huge sins. I committed the ordinary little sins, 108 00:09:18,585 --> 00:09:21,842 because I knew that, even though life is a merely a game, 109 00:09:22,120 --> 00:09:24,729 there are consequences to my actions, 110 00:09:24,957 --> 00:09:28,032 and that it's not worth committing great evil 111 00:09:28,310 --> 00:09:30,347 because it will have a negative reaction. 112 00:09:30,623 --> 00:09:36,196 So, I believed, somehow, in science and in consequences 113 00:09:36,475 --> 00:09:39,401 and all that. But, to put it in rough terms, I can say that 114 00:09:39,681 --> 00:09:45,138 the absurdity of atheism is sin. 115 00:09:48,106 --> 00:09:52,809 «Even if your sins are as red as scarlet...» 116 00:09:53,363 --> 00:09:56,402 «...I will make them as white as snow.» (Isaiah 1: 18) 117 00:10:00,698 --> 00:10:01,915 «Come, Holy Spirit of consolation.» (Catholic prayer) 118 00:10:02,242 --> 00:10:06,451 After having found God: - and I remember exactly 119 00:10:06,696 --> 00:10:10,179 and precisely the moment when I changed 120 00:10:10,459 --> 00:10:15,620 from atheist to monotheist; it was a precise moment in time, 121 00:10:15,880 --> 00:10:19,196 I was in bed with my wife reading, because I always read in bed 122 00:10:19,430 --> 00:10:24,842 before going to sleep. I was reading my book, 123 00:10:25,115 --> 00:10:27,675 which happened to be Rene Descartes. 124 00:10:28,250 --> 00:10:30,607 «I think, therefore I am.» (René Descartes) 125 00:10:30,888 --> 00:10:35,826 I remember that moment when I found God. 126 00:10:36,119 --> 00:10:37,706 I finally understood who God is. 127 00:10:37,990 --> 00:10:44,625 And just like that I was converted. Afterwards it took me 128 00:10:44,907 --> 00:10:50,772 a couple of weeks to understand because, ok, I have God, 129 00:10:51,061 --> 00:10:54,636 but what do I do now? Am I Muslim? Am I Jewish? 130 00:10:54,916 --> 00:10:58,399 Am I Christian? Above all I didn't want to be Christian... 131 00:11:02,118 --> 00:11:04,198 «I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink.» (Matthew 25: 42) 132 00:11:04,481 --> 00:11:07,299 But I read The Confessions of Saint Augustine. 133 00:11:07,625 --> 00:11:11,953 «Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.» (St. Augustine) 134 00:11:12,231 --> 00:11:16,322 A friend of mine had an upstairs neighbour 135 00:11:16,605 --> 00:11:19,298 who died in a fire when his apartment burned… 136 00:11:19,689 --> 00:11:27,682 They found a box of religious books, and my friend gave it to me, 137 00:11:27,967 --> 00:11:30,338 so I had all of these books. 138 00:11:30,620 --> 00:11:33,282 They were all covered with black ashes. 139 00:11:33,566 --> 00:11:38,642 And one of those books I was reading after having found God; 140 00:11:38,921 --> 00:11:42,145 it was the Confessions of St-Augustine. 141 00:11:43,659 --> 00:11:46,665 And so, when I read that I was really bowled over 142 00:11:46,949 --> 00:11:49,906 because now I know who God is, and Augustine, 143 00:11:50,191 --> 00:11:52,618 a Catholic of the fourth and fifth centuries, 144 00:11:52,904 --> 00:11:57,201 he spoke directly to my heart, and he spoke to me frankly 145 00:11:57,489 --> 00:12:01,347 about his sins, and it was very human. I understood immediately 146 00:12:01,621 --> 00:12:05,458 that the God of Catholicism was my God. 147 00:12:08,994 --> 00:12:13,915 So I converted to Catholicism. And I was particularly fortunate 148 00:12:14,189 --> 00:12:21,170 to have a Catholic friend, a monk called Brother Benoit David, 149 00:12:21,460 --> 00:12:27,346 who is now Father Benoit David; he's now a priest 150 00:12:27,616 --> 00:12:34,065 in Warsaw, Poland. But in any case, one day he came into 151 00:12:34,343 --> 00:12:37,525 the store where I was working as a computer technician. 152 00:12:37,808 --> 00:12:42,508 I chatted with him and asked him questions, I asked if 153 00:12:42,791 --> 00:12:47,745 I could come and visit the monastery to speak more about God. 154 00:12:48,026 --> 00:12:52,515 And it is he who provided my religious instruction. 155 00:12:52,797 --> 00:12:57,178 That's how I came to learn about Jesus. 156 00:12:59,838 --> 00:13:06,970 I never stop advancing toward the Lord, 157 00:13:07,254 --> 00:13:11,546 and toward deeper understanding and faith. 158 00:13:11,821 --> 00:13:14,411 «But who do you say that I am?» (Luke 9: 20) 159 00:13:15,620 --> 00:13:18,370 But it's all based on my conversion to God the Father. 160 00:13:20,075 --> 00:13:23,733 «You shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.» (Jeremiah 29: 13) 161 00:13:24,771 --> 00:13:28,962 >>Fr. Martin: So, this brother Benoit contributed a lot. 162 00:13:29,240 --> 00:13:32,666 Which community does he belong to? 163 00:13:32,943 --> 00:13:37,635 >>David: He's part of the Monastic Fraternity of Jerusalem, 164 00:13:37,916 --> 00:13:41,901 which was founded recently in France. 165 00:13:42,184 --> 00:13:45,851 It's a very young organization, I don't know their exact history, 166 00:13:46,137 --> 00:13:50,050 but it's an urban community, with urban monasteries. 167 00:13:50,334 --> 00:13:53,628 They pray for the city, they live in cities, all over the world. 168 00:13:53,906 --> 00:14:00,041 There aren't that many, maybe six or so around the world. 169 00:14:00,318 --> 00:14:02,740 I don't know how many cities they are in, but they exist 170 00:14:02,966 --> 00:14:06,965 here in Montreal, in Paris, in Warsaw, and a couple of 171 00:14:07,243 --> 00:14:11,418 other cities. But they were very open and very hospitable, 172 00:14:11,695 --> 00:14:19,656 and to this day I spend a lot of time there. 173 00:14:19,933 --> 00:14:25,018 I love their Eucharistic celebration... 174 00:14:46,002 --> 00:14:49,890 ...When I was merely monotheist but moving 175 00:14:50,181 --> 00:14:59,338 towards Christianity with the monks, I attended a mass 176 00:14:59,616 --> 00:15:02,610 without participating, because I was not yet Catholic, 177 00:15:02,896 --> 00:15:06,673 and I realized that they worship my recently discovered God. 178 00:15:06,955 --> 00:15:10,578 «It's my God and I want to participate, 179 00:15:10,863 --> 00:15:16,773 I want to become Catholic, I want to partake of the Eucharist, 180 00:15:17,067 --> 00:15:21,963 and all that, even if it is so far beyond me, this mystery.» 181 00:15:22,251 --> 00:15:27,793 Even today it's beyond me. I don't understand all the details 182 00:15:28,073 --> 00:15:31,524 of the trinity, the incarnation, the Eucharist, the real-presence 183 00:15:31,805 --> 00:15:35,706 of Jesus Christ under the forms of bread and wine. But I say yes. 184 00:15:35,985 --> 00:15:39,372 I say yes to all of the doctrines of the Catholic Church. 185 00:15:39,649 --> 00:15:43,866 I do a lot of reading, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 186 00:15:44,147 --> 00:15:49,937 Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, the Bible, 187 00:15:50,222 --> 00:15:52,754 The Imitation of Christ; I read a lot. 188 00:15:53,043 --> 00:16:01,347 And I have never rejected anything Catholic, not one thing. 189 00:16:01,630 --> 00:16:04,427 I say yes to it all, because until now 190 00:16:04,703 --> 00:16:07,713 I have never found anything in the Church which bothers me 191 00:16:07,994 --> 00:16:10,146 or which I cannot accept. 192 00:16:11,013 --> 00:16:14,162 >>Fr. Martin: Now, since we are discussing your conversion 193 00:16:14,445 --> 00:16:17,066 and faith, let's address your encounter with Jesus Christ. 194 00:16:17,344 --> 00:16:20,995 In your life-experience, in your relations with others, 195 00:16:21,277 --> 00:16:26,981 with your neighbour—your wife, your friends, from 196 00:16:27,259 --> 00:16:33,620 the past, present, or future, and all the people around you— 197 00:16:33,905 --> 00:16:38,498 tell me about one of your most pleasant experiences. 198 00:16:38,753 --> 00:16:40,827 You mean as a result of being Christian, being Catholic? 199 00:16:41,057 --> 00:16:43,908 >>Fr. Martin: With Jesus, as a result of this encounter with Jesus. 200 00:16:44,190 --> 00:16:54,425 >>David: Well, when I had three or four months 201 00:16:54,710 --> 00:16:57,807 of religious instruction and I was confirmed in 202 00:16:58,086 --> 00:17:06,506 the Catholic Church by Bishop Jude St-Antoine— 203 00:17:06,787 --> 00:17:08,154 I'm not sure of his full name, I think that's it— 204 00:17:08,439 --> 00:17:15,274 but, I was confirmed into the Catholic Church 205 00:17:15,556 --> 00:17:25,186 a little over two years ago now, and it's only now that 206 00:17:25,466 --> 00:17:29,062 I really notice the effects of the Holy Spirit in the confirmation, 207 00:17:29,324 --> 00:17:34,011 because my faith is growing. 208 00:17:34,296 --> 00:17:39,297 And even though I always said yes to the doctrines 209 00:17:39,574 --> 00:17:43,330 and all the dogmas and everything I had read, 210 00:17:43,608 --> 00:17:46,737 and although I always said yes, yes, yes to everything intellectually, 211 00:17:47,023 --> 00:17:51,170 now with the confirmation that I received, 212 00:17:51,454 --> 00:17:56,511 with its attendant chrismation and the laying on of hands, 213 00:17:56,788 --> 00:18:02,793 I have a certain spiritual experience, a kind of strength or force 214 00:18:03,073 --> 00:18:10,578 which I can't easily describe or name, but I believe that 215 00:18:10,860 --> 00:18:13,874 it is the Holy Spirit working within me. It's very mysterious, 216 00:18:14,149 --> 00:18:22,387 but there you go. It's an encounter with Truth. 217 00:18:22,666 --> 00:18:29,291 That's the only way I can describe it without falling into pride, 218 00:18:29,512 --> 00:18:36,262 and without claiming to fully understand it; I don't understand it— 219 00:18:36,484 --> 00:18:38,674 it's God! I don't know what else to say. 220 00:18:38,898 --> 00:18:43,654 It's difficult for me to describe. But in my personal relationships 221 00:18:43,883 --> 00:18:49,328 I have a kind of strength, which I perhaps manage poorly 222 00:18:49,574 --> 00:18:53,947 because I'm new to the faith, and I'm a weak human being, 223 00:18:54,157 --> 00:18:57,373 and a sinner, and all that. So, it may be that I'm sometimes 224 00:18:57,590 --> 00:19:03,163 out of control, and I often I see myself taking the Gospel 225 00:19:03,362 --> 00:19:07,986 like a weapon, in order to massacre my atheist friends 226 00:19:08,106 --> 00:19:16,722 with the spoken word, and syllogisms, medieval proofs, 227 00:19:16,930 --> 00:19:23,269 and things like that, because I'm still in an intellectual phase, 228 00:19:23,393 --> 00:19:27,322 even though the Spirit wants to move my heart. 229 00:19:27,434 --> 00:19:32,636 But I pray every day that my heart may be opened 230 00:19:32,769 --> 00:19:36,813 and touched by God's love, in order to melt the ice 231 00:19:36,919 --> 00:19:44,795 that surrounds my heart—and that my wife may see God's love, 232 00:19:44,906 --> 00:19:49,810 and that she may believe, as I do, in God, that God is good. 233 00:19:57,202 --> 00:20:00,982 «I chose you before the foundation of the world.» (Ephesians 1: 4)

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