Chuck Colson Has Died: Rest in the Peace of the Lord Whom You Served Courageously
I commend him to the Lord and pray that his life witness will be like a grain of wheat and bear continuing fruit in the Church and for the world
Chuck Colson, one of the great voices of the entire Christian community - Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox - has gone home to the Lord whom he served with such beauty and fidelity. He was eighty years old. Chuck Colson was a dynamically orthodox Christian leader, an historic figure who was chosen by God to help lead the recovery of Western Culture. He was an apostle of Christian Unity and a man of prophetic courage. May he rest in peace. May his life's work continue on.
Chuck Colson, 1931 - 2012
LANSDOWNE,VA (Catholic Online) - I received word in early April that Chuck Colson, one of my heroes - a man who inspired me as a young man to take the path I have taken - was in critical condition after brain surgery.
He had undergone the procedure on March 31, 2012. While speaking at a Christian conference the day before he became ill and had to be hospitalized. Brain surgery removed clotted blood on the surface of his brain.
I began a time of intercessory prayer for this good Christian man and his family. However, I was torn. I have such admiration for Chuck Colson. I thought of the words of the Apostle Paul because Chuck reminded me of St. Paul.
Paul wrote to the Philippians from a jail cell, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If it is to be life in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better." (Phil. 1)
Chuck's relationship with the Lord was so real that he probably faced the same struggle St. Paul did in those last few days. I am convinced that the prophetic voice provided by this great man must continue as the challenges we face as Christians in a West which is losing its soul continue. I feared the loss of his presence in this urgent hour.
On April 21, 2012, at 3:12 p.m., this wonderful man of God, Chuck Colson, went home to the Lord he loved. The entire Christian community, Protestant,Orthodox and Catholic, has lost one of its greatest voices. Chuck was eighty years old and was with his wife Patty and the family, in the circle of love, as he passed from death to life.
Now, I commend him to the Lord and pray that his life witness will be like a grain of wheat and bear continuing fruit in the Church and for the sake of the world.
When I heard he was close to death I recalled the words of another great prophetic voice, an Orthodox Christian named Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Chuck and I shared an admiration for him. He spoke these words to the US Congress in 1975: "Very soon only too soon, your country will stand in need of not just exceptional men but of great men. Find them in your souls. Find them in your hearts; find them in depths of your country."
Chuck Colson was one of those great men; a man of true Christian courage. He spoke truth to lies without any fear. He faced down the enemies of authentic freedom and refused to be intimidated. He pointed out that the path to authentic freedom leads to the foot of Golgotha's Hill and through the empty tomb - to all who would listen. I wanted Chuck to have at least a few more years. He is the kind of Christian leader we desperately need in this critical hour. However, the Lord had other plans.
I mourned the possibility of never seeing him again. It has been too many years, decades in fact, since we have been together. I have followed his fruitful work and always felt joined to him. I guess, as the years have raced by, I always entertained the idea I would have the moment to thank him for all that he meant to me as a young man. Now I know, we will meet again, but in eternity and the age to come.
Chuck wrote the forward to my first book entitled Evangelical Catholics. That was back before it was "cool" to even suggest that Catholics and Evangelical Protestants should work together. I claimed in my verbose subtitle, we had "to penetrate the darkness with the light of the Gospel."
Chuck agreed and placed his reputation as an emerging evangelical Protestant leader at risk by endorsing the young Catholic guy who had the audacity to say that Catholics, Orthodox and Protestant Christians should all be "evangelical" - if the word is properly understood as an adjective.
I met Chuck in the eighties when I served as a Dean of Students during the early phase of the great miracle of the rebirth of Franciscan University of Steubenville. I had followed Fr. Michael Scanlan to the College of Steubenville after spending a two year novitiate in a Benedictine Monastery discerning a call to the Monastic Life. That experience followed after a long journey home to the Catholic Church.
I was raised a Catholic but my family stopped practicing the faith. After getting caught up in the 60's and pursuing a genuine search for truth as a young "hippie", I "gave my life back to the Lord" as a teenager. Influenced by evangelical protestant friends, I spent time in a Protestant Bible College where my hunger for truth continued, driving me to ask questions.
I discovered the early Fathers of the Church and through inquiry and prayer, made my way back home to the Church I was raised in, the Catholic Church. I am what is often called a "revert". ...
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