Harrogate day of renewal 1972

Shortly afterward sister Margaret Mary from the Bar Convent told me that a meeting was being arrange din the convent of the Holy Child in Harrogate where  J. Turton a lawyer (?) in Wimbledon was to speak.   We went over and about 30 people were gathered t hear him.   He was informative rather than inspiring and had brought some books and literature. The sister, Sr. Lucy Ennis, who had set up the meeting said that their would be a meeting every month.   I was able to come to these meetings on a regular basis.  I listened to different speaker including an Irish Protestant whom I found myself listening to without judging his orthodoxy, and also Ann Watson n the wife to David Watson the vicar or St. Michael the Belfry in York which was becoming the centre of Anglican Charismatic Renewal in York.  I leant her a copy of the Rule of St. Benedict which much later she returned having been influenced by it in her attempts to found a community in York.  Richard Hare the Bishop of Pontefract also spoke.  Present there was a John Marshall whose son Dominic I was to meet up with gain in Chile where he was one of the Manqueue group, having been at school in Belmont   Ken and Margaret Leech where there, they later became important figures in the Ampleforth day of Renewal and their children Anne Marie and Michael were members of the Ampleforth Youth network.

              There was something very nourishing spiritual and right about the trips to Harrogate. I was aware that what was happening was new, but it was not strange.  I often had to come to terms with experiences of others and had to work through ’emotional’ behaviour. To understand the different way people prayed, people praised God, prayed out aloud.  Often these forms did not appeal to me, and something made me feel embarrassed, but his soon passed once I realised that when it came to people praying, if I was embarrassed the problem was mine not theirs.   I could only criticise if I knew that they were not sincere or putting on an act, and I had to give the benefit of the doubt.   This whole area of sincerity and proper expression is one which outsiders are quick to notice, but they find it hard to refrain from making negative judgements.   When one can celebrate the differences in style, and be so free that one can join in the prayers of others even when expressed in a form one finds uncongenial, then one has the capacity to behave as Jesus would have done.

            It was on the return from one of these days that I felt much more elated than normal, much freer, much more at ease to laugh and chat. This was the unremarkable day on which I later discovered that a change had happened in me that I would later see as the moment of my own Pentecost.  The primary experience was the close presence of Jesus, and my ability to praise him with meaning in my heart and mind, and love in my heart.  The experience of the love of God had been unknown to me except as words and an aspiration of the heart, but it never had a content which I could feel and therefore express even in sermons.  The knowing the mind of God, the understanding the person of Jesus at a deeper level these were the aspects which I came to know.   This experience has remained with me ever since, and it is buttressed and supported by the  shared prayer which we experience in choir, but much more by the prayer groups which I was involved in for the next 20 years in the school.  I found that nothing increases grace and knowledge of God than the constant need to share my relationship with him with others and the encouragement and insight I got from them. I discovered.  To share faith through prayer to God is the key way faith increases and is spread.