Thursday, November 17, 2011

From Liturgy to Life

My Search for God, or Vice Versa....

Jesus with his Disciples

God's calling of the human spirit can be a series of steps. That's why we call him “The Hound of Heaven” <> as described in the famous poem by Francis Thompson, 1859-1907.

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind....

It's to God's Glory that he relentlessly pursues us. At the age of eight, I was the littlest altar boy. I bowed and touched my forehead all the way to the first altar step as I clearly and piously recited the Latin my father taught me.

"Introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam" (Ps 42:4). And I will go to the altar of God: to God who gives joy to my youth.

At the age of fourteen, I picked up an old Douay Rheims Bible and began reading from Genesis. By the time I made it to Joshua, I prayed and gave my life to the Lord. I found the Bible fascinating and spiritually powerful.

At the age of eighteen I enjoyed worshiping privately in my room near my window with no one else knowing. I discovered “God's Grandeur” <> as described by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1877).

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Suddenly, deep in prayer, I broke into a strange language with strange sounds. I had no idea what this meant. I suppressed it, but many years later I discovered it was the Holy Spirit's gift of tongues.

In our early days of marriage and walking in the Lord, I remember my new wife, Mary, experienced the frustrations of rote religion. She strongly proclaimed to one Monsignor:

There has to be something more!”

She was right, and God soon brought the Gift to us. As a young couple, Mary's friend, a former coed from Syracuse University, came to visit us on the first three days of the New Year, 1973. She excitedly told us all about the Holy Spirit and the miracle working power of Jesus in believers lives. We stayed up until 3:00 am each night listening amazed in our living room to the wonderful wonders of God.

This young lady discovered I related to Jesus only as my friend. She instructed me on the importance of Jesus' atoning sacrifice for my sins. As I raised my arms to Heaven, this beautiful girl led me in the prayer of salvation for repentance and trust in Jesus, not just as my friend, but as my Savior.

Lord Jesus, I repent of all my sins and give myself to you, past, present, and future. 
I thank you for suffering on the Cross and shedding your blood for me that I can belong to You and the Father, forever.”

My dear wife, Mary, strongly insisted we visit a prayer meeting. She started both of us on a path to receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit that year. I'm so grateful to my wife for walking with me together as a couple to seek the Glories of God.

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NIV).

--Bill Hunt

The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift his countenance upon you, And give you peace” (Num 6:24-26).

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