Author of The Ragamuffin Gospel Brennan Manning passed away early Saturday morning. Like most of us, he lived a life of mistakes, U-turns, detours, tumbles and face plants. What made his life shine with meaning and purpose were his radical embrace of God’s grace and his undying commitment to share this gift with others.
Manning was a restless soul, too. A short biography in The Christian Post describes how Manning at one time had wished to pursue journalism, but after only one semester dropped out of a program at the University of Missouri, “restlessly searching for something ‘more’ in life.” “‘Maybe the something more is God,'” someone had suggested, at which point Manning enrolled in a Catholic seminary.
By self-profession in his last and final memoir, All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir, Manning went on to become a priest, and then an ex-priest, an alcoholic and a recovering alcoholic and then an alcoholic, a husband and then an ex-husband. In it all, though, he was able to say that grace had found him and would not let him go- so much so that grace became the single connecting thread that held his life and work together.
“Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever,” Manning wrote in The Ragamuffin Gospel, published in 1990 as “good news for the bedraggled, beat-up and burnt-out.”
Manning’s earthly journey may have come to an end. Somehow, though, I can’t help but think he is still finding grace over and over again. From one restless soul to another, Brennan Manning, thank you for teaching me and so many others about what it means to be found and held by God.