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  My Witness

Vol. 3, No. 3, July, 1998

My Story of Christ in Me
By Dick Spitz

My Story of Christ in Me You are a valued child of God and so I write you this witness, that through it, you may be encouraged in your faith.

Having been raised a Catholic, I was faithful to Sunday Mass and the sacraments, had taken religion courses sponsored by the Newman Foundation while attending the University of Illinois, and was active in parish life which was important to me. I believed all I was doing was, at least, minimal for salvation.

In the fall of 1973 my wife Rita and I heard about prayer meetings, but I felt no need for them. After all, wasn't I doing what was required to get to heaven?

Why I attended that first prayer meeting is beyond me, except that I promised my brother in law I would go. After going a couple of times, I began to realize something was missing in my life. I had been living a varnished religious life, and I needed to get under that glossed over exterior and acknowledge how dependent I was on God. This happened when I went through a Life in the Spirit Seminar and change began.

My personal prayer life, which had consisted solely of an occasional devotional service at our parish, changed. Now I found that to pray in tongues was a real source of praise. The real clincher came when I realized that I was able to talk to God in my own words . . . listening came later. This led to a closeness to God that I would not have thought possible.

Serving, wherever the need, became a vital area in my life. Setting up chairs at the weekly prayer meetings laid a valuable groundwork for service in other areas. Through Sr. Angeline, the Lord taught me many lessons about commitment, humility and love in service of my brothers and sisters.

Another change occurred-regular reading of the Bible was a must. But an even more astounding thing happened. I began to listen with new ears to the words spoken at Mass. Every homily had something to say to me; distractions were less and I was able to zero in on what the Lord had for me; the Eucharist was a continual reminder that I was to be broken and poured out for others.

I began to use the Sacrament of Reconciliation more often. But with things that tend to take some preparation, I tend to put them off using excuses like: I don't have time today or I'm sure the Lord would rather I do this other thing first. Well, I retired last September, so it is hard to find excuses and so the sacrament has become a regular event for me. Now, I really don't search for an excuse but take the time to make a good self-review and receive the sacrament of God's healing love which gives me the grace to change. There is constant need for on-going change and growth in the Lord, but I know that each day brings new desire, new insights, new hope, new grace . . . a new beginning. I realize my new beginning didn't just start in 1973 but 58 years ago when I was baptized, and that it has not ended with today, for tomorrow is another new beginning.

"Lord, I pray for tomorrow, that Your Word may come to me and make me more one with You, that Your light may shine forth in me and overcome any darkness that may approach me" (Jn. 1:1-5).

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