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Al Briones - "How God Became Real To Me"

Al Briones For many years God used to be something "out there" that I prayed to, but not really a part of my daily life. That all seemed to change after saying yes to the gift of Tongues.

A wise monk once told me that our job is to create a capacity so that God can fill it. Looking back, I can see how the spaces in my life that God has filled have been a combination of His unperceived guidance of the events in my life, as well as the willingness to embrace a new way of "being" when asked to. It was my choice, yet I am glad for the graces during those times that allowed me the courage to say yes and allow God to do.

So it was with receiving the gift of tongues. I "happened" to be in the congregation at a healing mass only because of my involvement with a music ministry. The celebrant prayed over us and told us that we had now all received the gift of tongues, but that we must continue to use it. I thank God that He gave me the gift to also be willing to appear foolish enough to babble...for through that foolishness, God's power began to become more and more apparent in my life.

Being part of a Charismatic prayer group has also been a particular blessing, as I doubt that I would have continued to practice that form of prayer without the example and support of those who also pray in tongues each week during the meeting. Over time, I began to be more open to the possibilities of healings, and was personally healed during mass at the SCRC convention in Anaheim. But, that too required a choice. This time the celebrant told us "someone was healed of depression during the last song...claim it!" I remember thinking I didn't know if that was me, but that I would open myself to receive it anyway. I did, and that was all that it took.

As God has continued to bless my life in many different and wonderful ways, I am most grateful that He continues to be patient with me as I struggle to "jump in" to the gifts of New Life He has won for us.

Thankfully, these days, I can now say God is no longer "out there" but is right here. He was all along.

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