Testimony : My Search for God on Internet
As a researcher and lecturer in computer science since the beginning of the 90s I was passionately interested in research, conferences, travel, writing scientific articles or works I was an " internaut ". Like all navigators on Internet, I was very difficult to get hold of on the telephone. The Holy Spirit would have had to send me an e-mail to get through to me. But he didnt. Perhaps this was not in tune with the style of the " firm " (the Fathers firm). And yet, it was on the Net that I experienced the adventure of my life.
As for spiritual knowledge, I was really poorly informed. My Christian education consisted of only two years of catechism classes between the age of 8 and 9. Whereas I really enjoyed the first year, the second year possibly left me with a slight allergy to people who are pejoratively known in the " world " as " RCs ". After that , I didnt practise my religion any more.
For some unknown reason, about twenty years later, one fine day, between doing two calculations on my computer, I typed the word Bible as the key word on one of the first Internet servers. That summer of 1996, more than 145000 answers were already on offer (Today, 2 June 1999, the same server gives me 2.557.020 Web pages with the key word Bible.) I was surprised, so I consulted a few pages and, I dont know why but the one that grabbed me spoke of Marian apparitions in a little village in Bosnia-Herzogovina, Medjugorje. Id never heard of it. I quickly read through the text and again, for some reason unknown to me, I opened " my door ". (see : a verse from the Book of Revelation of St John) " Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share a meal at that persons side. " Rev.3 :20 That door was of course my heart, and I opened it to this call which was asking me to return to the Eucharist, prayer, Bible reading, fasting and confession.
As I had had the opportunity during my catechism lessons of " experiencing " the sacrament of individual reconciliation (confession), I wanted to make my confession. But I didnt know where to go in my town. So I took the car and drove 180 kilometers to Lyons to the Fourvière Basilica that I had visited several years before as I seemed to remember that confessions were heard there on a permanent basis. After that, I was able to take part in the celebration of the Sunday Mass. I put up with what, at the time, seemed to me to be a depressing atmosphere, solely in order to be able to receive communion.
During the week, between Sundays, I continued to glean information on the Net. I was intrigued by a word that kept coming up, the Rosary. What on earth could that be ?
Among the answers on the Web I found the Fatima website with explanations on how to pray the Rosary. (Today a search with Rosary as the key word provides about 57000 replies.) Fortunately, I didnt stop at the intellectual level of the instructions (available only in English on the Net at the time). I managed to translate the " Apostles Creed " and the " Glory be to the Father " into French and on that very same evening I started to pray the Rosary, with rosary beads in my hands.
For yet another " reason unknown to me " I started to meditate on the sorrowful mysteries ; then the tears flowed (this apparently brings a smile to the faces of those who have had the good fortune of experiencing an " unofficial " outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This was the real beginning of my road to conversion. I pass on the details and the graces that led me to Paray-le-Monial, Medjugorje, Rome, daily Mass and daily Rosary and then to setting up a website on Internet on which you will find the text of the prayers in French for the 1997 JMJ (World Youth Days) in Paris. (http://www.multimania.com/hill).
In all this there is nothing in which I myself can glory ; I can only say that I have experienced " grace from heaven " freely given. As I see it, it was certainly the Holy Spirit who whispered, rather loudly in my ear, the idea of typing the key word Bible on an Internet server. The Bible is often presented as being the Word of God, which is why the following words truly speak to me:
" In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. " (beginning of the Gospel of St John).