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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Prayer: Dan Harrington, S.J.

I find God largely in and through the Bible. Most of my academic, spiritual, and pastoral life revolves around the Bible. It is for me the most important way to come to know, love, and serve God.

My love for the Bible goes back a long way. I stutter. I always have, and I guess I always will. As a young boy I read in the newspaper that Moses stuttered. I looked it up in the Bible, and sure enough in Exodus 4:10 Moses says to God: “I as slow of speech and slow of tongue.” But I found much more in Exodus 3-4. It is the story of God’s self-revelation to Moses at Mount Horeb. It tells about the burning bush, the suffering of God’s people Israel is Egypt, the revelation of the special divine name (“I am who I am”), God’s promise of liberation from slavery, Moses’ miraculous powers, and God’s call to Moses to speak on God’s behalf. I read that story over and over, and it gradually worked upon me so that it has shaped my religious consciousness to this day. As a boy of ten or eleven years of age I found God in the Bible, and I have continued to do so ever since.

The God of the Bible is the God of Jesus Christ. I experience his God in and through the Bible and my life. It is my privilege as a Jesuit priest to study and teach Scripture, to proclaim and preach God’s word, and to celebrate the Church’s liturgies (which are largely cast in the language of the Bible). In the midst of these wonderful activities (which are my greatest joy), I occasionally stutter. And this brings me back to where my spiritual journey with the Bible began. Though I am slow of speech and tongue like Moses, I still hear the words of Exodus 4:11-12: “Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, and I will be your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.”

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