Daily Riches: Preparation for Ministry (James Martin, Brennan Manning and Tagore)

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.

I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.”
Rabindranath Tagore

“Over the past twenty-two years as a Jesuit, I have worked in a variety of what you might call service-related positions. While a novice in Boston, beside the time at the homeless shelter, I worked in a hospital for the seriously ill. Also during my novitiate, I worked with Mother Teresa’s sisters in the slums of Kingston, Jamaica, in a hospice for the sick and dying. During philosophy studies in Chicago, I worked with gang members and at a community center helping unemployed men and women find jobs. After that came my two years in Kenya with refugees. …It would take me into some of the worst slums in the world and introduced me to some people who were certainly the poorest of the poor, and yet whose great faith astonished me. Later, during my theology studies in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I worked as a prison chaplain, spending time with men and women from poor backgrounds who had sometimes committed terrible crimes … and who were desperate for someone to talk to. And since ordination I continue to do service in the form of sacramental ministry like hearing confessions, presiding at funerals, and accompanying people in difficult times. These works all brought me joy.” James Martin

“A two-year leave of absence from the Franciscans took Brennan to Spain in the late sixties. He joined … an Order committed to an uncloistered, contemplative life among the poor – a lifestyle of days spent in manual labor and nights wrapped in silence and prayer. Among his many and varied assignments, Brennan became an aguador (water carrier), transporting water to rural villages via donkey and buckboard; a mason’s assistant, shoveling mud and straw in the blazing Spanish heat; a dishwasher in France; a voluntary prisoner in a Swiss jail, his identity as a priest known only to the warden; a solitary contemplative secluded in a remote cave for six months in the Zaragoza desert.” Brennan Manning

“I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived,
none is greater than John the Baptist.”
Matthew 11:11

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • My ministry preparation was almost entirely academic. Now that seems profoundly misguided and inadequate. What’s your experience?
  • Has your “book learning” been tested and enhanced by “street learning?”
  • Can you trust God to use you no matter what your journey has been?

Abba, use me.

For More: Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning


“Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. –  Bill