Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - A Saint Goes Marching In

ronniemcbrayer300 blackKENTUCKY (5/12/13) - Years ago my oldest son asked me a question: “What is a saint?” When you’re driving along with a numb mind at day’s end, as I was, that’s not the type of question you are prepared to answer. So I splattered out, “A saint is someone who does what God wants them to do.” My son answered, “If that’s a saint, then why did New Orleans choose that as their football mascot?” I didn’t have an answer for that question either.

What is a saint? Well, we often think of saints as being holy or remarkable people who did something extraordinary for God. We think of people we know personally who have influenced us: A grandmother, parent, or mentor whom we easily refer to as saints. Or we think of some poor lady with a worthless husband and an impossible life. She never loses her patience or resolve, so behind her back we talk about how great her reward in heaven will be, and we call her a saint.

Thomas Merton, a saintly person in his own right, said: “A saint is not someone who is good. It is someone who has experienced the goodness of God.” Going with Merton’s thought, saints are those have come to know deep, abiding grace. Saints understand that their failures and shortcomings do not disqualify them from receiving God’s love. Saints have learned that their grotesque, self-inflicted wounds, rather than alienating God, bring the divine to bear in their lives in unique and powerful ways.

Extraordinary. Influential. Determined. Fallible and damaged. If these are the characteristics of sainthood, then a true saint left the world in recent days: The writer, priest, preacher, alcoholic, divorcé, and all-round self-proclaimed “ragamuffin” known as Brennan Manning.

As a young man Brennan entered the seminary and was ordained to the Franciscan priesthood. He would go on to become a theologian, a campus minister, a spiritual director, the author of nearly two dozen books (his “Ragamuffin Gospel” should be required religious reading), and a practitioner in the way of Jesus, living among the poor as a mason’s assistant, a dishwasher, a voluntary prisoner, and a shrimper.

Of course, if Manning’s story and life ended there, there would be little doubt about his sainthood. Teaching theology, working among the pitiable and overlooked, self-imprisonment (though innocent) in order to minister to convicts, living among the rough and tumble fisherman of the Gulf Coast – who could be more like Jesus?

But Manning’s ministry and life disintegrated into horrific alcoholism. He was homeless and busted, living on a quart of vodka a day, when he finally entered treatment. It took him months to get sober, but he did, only to relapse. When sober again he began writing in earnest, left the priesthood, married Rosalyn, and moved to New Orleans (he was an avid Saints fan), where his marriage would end in divorce, and again he would land in rehab.

Manning says that the greatest regret of his life is not his relapses into alcoholism. His greatest regret is “The time I’ve wasted in shame, guilt, remorse, and self-condemnation…I’m not speaking about the appropriate guilt one ought to feel after committing a sin. I’m talking about wallowing in guilt, almost indulging in it, which is basically a kind of idolatry where I am the center of my focus and concern.”

He went on to say, “I can waste no more time being shocked or horrified that I have failed. There’s nothing else I can do now but help sinners journey from self-hatred to God’s love, and to help people see that if God ceased to love, God would cease to be God.”

This blessed, bumbling drunk; this muddled mix of failure and faithfulness; this holy, blue-eyed and blue-jean-wearing champion of grace did exactly that for untold thousands – he helped them find the love of God in spite of personal shame. And while I only knew him through his words, he did the same for me. So from one ragamuffin to another, “Thank you, Brennan. A saint truly is marching in.”

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Posted on 2/2/14

Latest Video

Genovese - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=35646&sub= Lewis - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=bracken_lewis Holt - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=drholt Napier - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=dr.napier_page Newman - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=50353
Genovese - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=35646&sub= Lewis - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=bracken_lewis Holt - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=drholt Napier - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=dr.napier_page Newman - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=50353
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Stock Report

1 DOW 16,804.71
-238.19 (-1.40%)    
2 S&P 1,946.16
-26.13 (-1.32%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,422.08
-71.31 (-1.59%)    
Genovese - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=35646&sub= Lewis - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=bracken_lewis Holt - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=drholt Napier - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=dr.napier_page Newman - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=50353
Genovese - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=35646&sub= Lewis - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=bracken_lewis Holt - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=drholt Napier - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=dr.napier_page Newman - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=50353
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Genovese - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=35646&sub= Lewis - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=bracken_lewis Holt - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=drholt Napier - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=dr.napier_page Newman - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=50353
Genovese - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=35646&sub= Lewis - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=bracken_lewis Holt - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=drholt Napier - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=dr.napier_page Newman - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=50353
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Genovese - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=35646&sub= Lewis - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=bracken_lewis Holt - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=drholt Napier - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=dr.napier_page Newman - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=50353
Genovese - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=35646&sub= Lewis - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=bracken_lewis Holt - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=drholt Napier - http://www.mchky.org/getpage.php?name=dr.napier_page Newman - http://www.mchky.org/staff/bio.php?doc_id=50353
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

September 27, 2014 4001

Hopkins County Grand Jury Misdemeanor Indictments

in News by Karen McKnight
September 29, 2014 3608

Endless Road Strings Bring Orchestra Mix to…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 01, 2014 3212

Muhlenberg Community Hospital to Host Lighting of…

in Top Stories by Information provided by Erin Warren
September 27, 2014 3024

Sinister on Center Takes Haunted Manor to Whole…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
September 29, 2014 2570

One Injured in Single-Vehicle Collision on…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
September 29, 2014 2458

Man, Woman Charged with Violating EPO Against…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 28, 2014 2451

Community Shows Support to Muhlenberg Humane…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
September 28, 2014 2207

Marching Mustangs Take Third in Ohio Competition

in Top Stories by Information provided by Shawna Hendrix
September 29, 2014 2156

Man Charged with PI, Drugs, After Allegedly…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 27, 2014 1964

Hopkins/Webster Counties Native, Paducah Writer…

in Top Stories by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
September 29, 2014 1953

Traffic Accident on Brown Road

in News by Madisonville Police Department

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

September 29, 2014 2570

One Injured in Single-Vehicle Collision…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
September 29, 2014 2458

Man, Woman Charged with Violating EPO…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 29, 2014 2156

Man Charged with PI, Drugs, After…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 29, 2014 1612

Man Arrested for DUI, Marijuana Possession

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 28, 2014 1433

Angel Garden Dedicated at Baptist…

in Top Stories by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

September 29, 2014 3608

Endless Road Strings Bring Orchestra Mix…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 01, 2014 3212

Muhlenberg Community Hospital to Host…

in Top Stories by Information provided by Erin Warren
September 28, 2014 2451

Community Shows Support to Muhlenberg…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
September 28, 2014 2207

Marching Mustangs Take Third in Ohio…

in Top Stories by Information provided by Shawna Hendrix
September 29, 2014 1667

Fourteen Year Old Parker Hastings Wins…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 03social 04social 22social 21social 06