Monday, October 6, 2014

Fr Benedict Groeschel: Requiscat in pace

I am guessing that most of my readers are aware that Fr Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., passed into eternity last Friday. It is fitting that he passed into eternity on the vigil of the liturgical memorial of St Francis of Assisi. I believe it was so he could celebrate that great feast in heaven. Like tens, perhaps even hundreds, of thousands of people, I thank God for life and ministry of Fr Groeschel. Words could not express my gratitude for his witness. I would be remiss not mark his passing.

To give some idea of the great wisdom Fr Benedict possessed, here's a quote about living life according to our destiny: "even when we do not choose evil, we choose the good so half heartedly and with so many qualifications that mediocrity becomes our canonized statis quo." May this not continue to be the case. Ultimately the good is not a moral choice, its ultimate value is in beauty. He used to also remind us all that the response to holiness, to our attempt to grow in holiness, is usually mockery.

In my view, his greatest achievement was founding the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.

A few years ago, Fr Benedict prompted some controversy, for which he apologized and subsequently went into retirement due to age and health problems. I wrote about that episode (see "Praying for Fr. Benedict Groeschel"). Over the years I have recommended his book Arise from Darkness: What to Do When Life Doesn't Make Sense to many people in the midst of their suffering. I have given away copies of his book Praying to Our Lord Jesus Christ: Prayers and Meditations Through the Centuries to people desiring to grow closer to our Lord Jesus Christ. I am looking forward to reading his last book, published recently by Sophia Institute Press: When God is Silent: Finding spiritual peace amidst the storms of life. I found this video, made for the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood back in 2009, which I think powerfully conveys the spirit of this wonderful disciple of Jesus, this joy-filled friar, and faithful priest:

While Fr Benedict is one of those people that the world is surely worse off without, I feel quite certain he is there and ready to intercede for us now.

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