I was saddened to read this past Saturday that Brennan Manning passed away. He was one of my favorite authors. His writings had a way of extending the grace of God to me in a way that I have needed to receive over and over again. When I found myself in image management mode, Manning gave me permission to accept who I was and live in the grace and forgiveness of God.
According to his website, he was ordained to the Franciscan priesthood in 1963. During his work with the poor, he traveled to Spain where for a time he became a solitary reflective, secluded in a remote cave for six months in the Zaragoza desert. After returning to the states, he experienced a battle with alcoholism. That battle prompted him to begin writing, encouraging people everywhere to accept and embrace the good news of God’s unconditional love in Jesus Christ. Among his most popular books are The Ragamuffin Gospel, Abba’s Child, and The Signature of Jesus.
Back in September of last year, I wrote about the Top 5 Books That Have Influenced Me, and Abba’s Child was among my top 5. One of my favorite quotes from that book is,
Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.
The first part of that quote graced the wall in my office and a friend gave me a journal with that quote printed on the first page. Is has become one of my life’s mottos.
From The Ragamuffin Gospel, one of my favorite quotes is,
In Christ Jesus freedom from fear empowers us to let go of the desire to appear good, so that we can move freely in the mystery of who we really are.
The question is, do I worship God or do I worship my experience of God? Do I worship God or do I worship my idea of him?
Aside from reading many of his books, I got to hear him speak a couple times and count myself fortunate to even have had lunch with him along with a couple other people on one occasion. Whether through his writing, speaking, or sitting across a table from him he was always both challenging and refreshing to hear. May he truly rest in the grace of God!