A Summary of Fr. Thomas Dubay’s Surefire Program for Holiness

In his book Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer, Fr. Thomas Dubay offers a “surefire program” for holiness. Presupposing the absolute necessity of grace, Dubay goes into a series of 7 Be’s to help explain our part in seeing to it that deep conversion does come about in our individual lives:

1: Be Concerned

We need to be concerned about not only the possibility of losing the beatific vision in heaven and missing out on being utterly filled with endless Beauty, but also be concerned daily about our moral mediocrity, or “willed refusal to become the beautiful person to which each of us is invited” (93).

“If you and I aspire to be deeply converted and to love generously, we had better be bothered about the level we have thus far reached or not reached” (94).

2: Be Determined

We should be determined to cooperate with God’s grace “with a determined and resolute repentance” (95).

“A natural lethargy plus our original woundedness and persistent selfish clingings shown in repeated venial sins provide an abundance of experiential evidence that, without determination and solid repentance, the second and third degrees of conversion simply will not happen” (95).

3: Be Motivated

We should continually reflect on the reasons why we should pursue deep conversion. Some of these include being far happier and fulfilled in your state of life, a dramatic increase in your apostolic effectiveness, inexpressible joy and delight both here on earth and eternally in heaven. The saints prove this to be true!!


“There is a direct correlation between the beauty of holiness and the fruitfulness of our work and interpersonal relationships” (97).

4: Be Committed to Daily Meditative/Contemplative Prayer

Deep prayer and deep conversion are correlated, they support and bring about each other.

“We come now to the taproot of our surefire program: intimacy with the indwelling Trinity. To put it simply: the main source of deep conversion is to fall in love with endless Beauty. A genuine person will gladly sacrifice for real love. Christic martyrs are in love” (99).

5: Be Humble

We must be humble, that is, completely honest, in order to invite divine light into our decision-making process as we deepen our conversion.

6: Be Specific

We need to be specific, that is, we need to focus on clear and specific goals every day.

The particular examen is of great help here. Choose one fault to be corrected or one virtue to be acquired or improved upon. Every day at a set time, in a prayerful atmosphere and place, review how you behaved with regard to that one specific point over the last 24 hours, then plan ahead for the next 24 hours, asking God for help. Dubay recalls how St. Therese lived this out radically:

Thérèse had acquired the habit of smiling every time when, at work, she was disturbed by a Sister who came with or without reason, to ask her for some service. She noted this with humor in her last manuscript. She was ready for annoyance: “I want it; I count on it … so I am always happy” (Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, p. 62).

7: Be Persevering

We need to persevere because we have a remarkable resistance to deep conversion!

“It is comparatively easy for most of us to do something difficult for a day or two, but it is less likely that we will be faithful to our resolution for a month or two. And very few indeed will sacrifice comfort and ease for years on end—unless they are deeply in love, real love” (105).

Review these 7 factors at least weekly. Ask yourself:

  • Am I faithful to each of these 7 factors?
  • How am I succeeding—or failing?
  • Do I need to change anything in order to improve or correct what is amiss?

Another helpful addition to this is having an accountability partner for regular check-ins.

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