Many scholars today try to dismiss Saint Matthew's seemingly instant conversion. They reason, not based on scripture, that Saint Matthew probably knew Jesus for a while beforehand and this was just his way of telling his readers when he left everything to follow Jesus.
It sounds good but I'll stick with what I read. Matthew got up and followed him. I know of many people who had instant conversions of this sort ( Fr. Donald Calloway, Zachary King). This doesn't mean that they were instantly saints but rather that they made the choice for Christ and did not look back. This doesn't mean everything from then on was easy but that they now had the strength of Christ and through Him they could do all things. Matthew heard the call of God and responded. His heart was open and Christ was able to walk in.
Something else to note is that Matthew didn't care what anyone thought of his conversion or his association with Jesus. In reality there were probably just as many skeptical "sinners and tax collectors" as there were Pharisees. Matthew's friends probably wondered why he would invite Jesus to a party in the same way that the Pharisees wondered how Jesus could dine with "these" people. Matthew isn't concerned about anyone's opinion. He is only concerned with his relationship with Christ. If that relationship results in his friends conversion all the better, but he will not shy away from his master out of human respect.
In the 1st reading, Paul gives us a similar story. He tells the Ephesians and us that all are called to follow the Lord. All are called and God gives all the graces needed. All are called to different aspects of service depending on their gifts. All are called to holiness, the only difference is the answer we give.
Lord Jesus, You never cease to call me to follow You. Help me this day to leave all that keeps me from You. Help me to leave my cares for vanity and my concern with worldly opinion behind, take up my cross and follow You. Lord, come to my house and dine. Come into my life for I am sick with sin and in need of Your Divine Medicine.
FROM THE SAINTS
"What amazes you seems natural to me: that God has sought you out in the practice of your profession! That is how he sought the first, Peter and Andrew, James and John, beside their nets, and Matthew, sitting in the custom-house. And - wonder of wonders - Paul, in his eagerness to destroy the seeds of Christianity!" - Saint Josemaria Escriva The Way 799
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How to get better at prayer.
- Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
- Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go. Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
- Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days. Mark off the days on your calendar. If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
- Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him. I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development. God is the same way. Spend time praying as best you can. Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation. Don't forget to listen
- Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life. It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
- Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer Primer, Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer, Time for God, The Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation.
* Contains affiliate links. No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room. Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy. All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...