This Sunday, I thought I’d share a favorite quote…and decided to make it a freebie you are welcome to download, save, share, and enjoy.
It’s not a Catholic quote at all, but a Christian one.
The quote is from the Charismatic (and Apocalyptic) Christian leader of the self titled Rick Renner Ministries. Pastor Renner’s book “Living In The Combat Zone” has all sorts of dogmas and beliefs I, as a Catholic and as an individual, would not endorse. But, like all humans, every so often, he gets it right, and this quote was one of those times.
I learned about Charles de Foucauld (who IS Catholic – Roman denomination) at the same time I read “Combat Zone” by reading “Cry The Gospel With Your Life” a biography of him. There were a lot of days when I felt like I would end up like Charles, who feared at one point feared that he was a total failure, because he had not attracted one person to his religious life or made one convert. Today he is (to the Vaticanites) Blessed Charles de Foucauld . (As a martyr, I consider him to already be a saint, as was the case in the early church when there was no Vatican or special stamps or papers.)
By the time he died, he had founded the Roman Catholic Association of the Brothers and Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in France, even though he was in the Sahara, and after his death his writings inspired the creation of Roman Catholic religious institute The Little Brothers and Little Sisters of Jesus and other organizations. It was wonderful to read of how deFoucard’s ministry turned out, but the biography, although helpful, did nothing to give me a concrete way of thinking about the environment I was in right now.
My first hint came when I found Prayer Before Battle in a little book written by then Monsignor Fulton Sheen for soldiers to carry in the war. Sheen acknowledged in the book that the prayer had been found in a soldier’s prayerbook, and that Sheen himself did not write it. It rang so true to me, it has been one of the most frequent morning prayers I pray for almost a decade.
The overall tone of “Living In The Combat Zone”, the way of thinking about being a minister to human beings in a very dangerous and difficult world – In my case the world of the poor, the elderly, the disabled, the GLBTQ, the forgotten, and the lonely – was of great comfort to me when there was no “Tender Mercies Ministry”, no 501c charity, nothing more than me by myself, going out everyday and trying my best to be an example of Franciscan Independent Catholicism by my activities, not by preaching.
It filled out the thoughts expressed in Prayer Before Battle”, and gave me inspiration to get up, haul my MS ridden body out of bed, and go out and BE. Guess what? There is no more Tender Mercies Ministry, no staff, just me mostly in my wheelchair going out as often as I am healthy enough and trying my best to be an example of Franciscan Independent Catholicism by my activities. Life is a circle sometimes…
It often works out that God may pick someone you completely would never expect to for one moment to come out with one sentence, or one book, that can change your entire day. Since God is all-powerful, I saw no reason why God couldn’t be allowed to have picked this on-the-edge preacher from another far-away part of the garden to send me a message. The message I got was that God knew I was down in the trenches of a very bad war, that I was not walking this lay Franciscan thing by myself, that Jesus was walking with me.