“Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. You are no longer slaves, but sons and daughters–and the fact that you are sons and daughters makes you heirs of the Kingdom by God’s design. The Abba of Jesus loves you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be. You’ve only checked into the hotel of earth overnight, you’re in route to the heavenly Jerusalem, you’re going to drink new wine forever at the Messianic banquet table. My friends… I didn’t come here to mince words, or beat around the bush, or indulge in wishful thinking. My name is Brennan Manning… I am a son of my Abba and I’m going to that Kingdom.”
Richard Francis Xavier Manning was known to legions of ragamuffins as author, preacher, and Abba’s child. As Brennan Manning, he was a man for whom grace was irresistible. He believed Jesus seeks us beyond worthiness and unworthiness, beyond fidelity and infidelity… in the morning sun and in the evening rain–when your intellect denies it, your emotions refuse it, your whole being rejects it. He believed God loves without condition or reservation. And on Friday, April 12 at 12:10AM, Brennan completed his earthly journey. He has lept into his Abba’s arms. He has gone to that kingdom.
“My own glimpse of Jesus moved from obscurity to increasing clarity on a winter’s night, December 13, 1968, in the Zaragoza desert in Spain. I was living in a cave six thousand feet above the village of Farlete, it was 3:00 A.M., and the world was asleep, but my heart was awake to God. During what began as a long and lonely hour of prayer, I heard Jesus say, ‘For love of you I left my Father’s side. I came to you who ran from me, who fled me, who did not want to hear my name. For love of you I was covered with spit, punched and beaten, and fixed to the wood of the cross.’
Although it was thirty-five years ago, this morning in an hour of quiet time, I realized that those words still burned on my life. Whether I am in a state of grace or disgrace, the words impose themselves with the stark realism of objective truth. That night in the cave I stared at a crucifix for hours, figuratively seeing the blood streaming from every wound and pore in Christ’s body; and I heard the cry of his blood: ‘This is not a joke. It is not a laughing matter to me that I have loved you.’ The longer I looked, the more I realized that no man has ever loved me and no woman could ever love me as he does. I cried out in the darkness, ‘Jesus, are you crazy–are you out of your mind to have loved me so much?'”
Brennan Manning, A Glimpse of Jesus, pages 40-41.