An Orthodox Christian Honors Chuck Colson: A Life Redeemed by Christ
long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you," wrote C.S Lewis.
At this point Colson recalled that he "felt naked and unclean" his "bravado defenses gone." He was "exposed, unprotected, for Lewis's words were describing" him. Lewis's revelations had ripped through his "protective armor" in which he had "unknowingly encased himself" his entire life. Colson compared it with a torpedo hitting him "amidships." The light of Christ had broken through and God's truth touched his soul. His transformation had begun.
Noticing the change, Phillips also prayed reading from the Psalms and the Gospel of St. John. "As Tom prayed, something began to flow into me - a kind of energy. Then came a wave of emotion which nearly brought tears" which Colson fought back. However, once he left Phillips' home, he was overcome by the experience and the tears flowed uncontrollably. "I was crying so hard it was like trying to swim underwater," he wrote in Born Again.
As the tears of sadness and repentance continued to flow he experienced genuine relief and cleansing. Colson fervently prayed his first real prayer: "God, I don't know how to find You, but I'm going to try! I'm not much the way I am now, but somehow I want to give myself to You." Not knowing how to say more, he repeated over and over the words "Take me."
If this story had ended there, then not much would be remembered of Chuck Colson's non-political life. Luckily for us and the many lives that he has touched, helped, comforted, and illuminated, the reality of that conversion experience was borne out by the great fruits of Colson's ministry and his works on behalf of Christ since then. The rest of his life was devoted to courageously and faithfully serving the Lord, bringing the word of Christ to many others, standing up to the enemies of freedom, and fighting in defense of life, truth, morality, and righteousness.
"Chuck's life's work in Prison fellowship, the Colson Institute and so many other endeavors, most recently the Manhattan Declaration, were all fruit borne from the same strong tree which grounded him, the Tree of the Cross of the Savior whom he loves. He was a classical, dynamically orthodox Christian leader, an historic figure who was been chosen by God to help lead the recovery of Western Culture," writes Deacon Keith Fournier. These are indeed the actions of a real disciple of Jesus Christ, one redeemed by the Lord and transformed into a beautiful light that shined through the remainder of his life and was reflected in the works that bore witness to his faith in the Lord.
Colson's life stands as a testament to the reality of God and the redeeming power of His Word, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Light of Light, true God of true God. This is the uncreated Word who humbled Himself and became a man in order to save us. This is the eternal Son of God who voluntarily sacrificed His life in order to redeem ours. This is the infinite Word whose resurrection defeated death and granted us eternal life. This is the Christ who came into the world so that we could have life, and have it "more abundantly."
If there is a lesson to be learned from Chuck Colson and C.S. Lewis is that God accepts no half-measures. "Christ says `Give me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. . Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked - the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours,'" wrote Lewis.
As Deacon Keith Fournier so eloquently points out, Colson showed us "that the path to authentic freedom leads to the foot of Golgotha's Hill and through the empty tomb - to all who would listen." May all of us have the wisdom and discernment to listen and remember this important truth as we face our own trials and tribulations in this world.
May we be blessed with the courage and conviction to speak the truth and proclaim God's Word in the face of evil and persecution. May we also find strength and power to pick up our own crosses and follow Christ, the one who is "the way, the truth, and the life" for all mankind. That is the only way that we will ever find real meaning, real comfort, real joy, real freedom, and ultimately eternal life.
Christ is Risen!
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Chuck Colson, Prison Fellowship, Orthodox, Wilberforce, Chris Banescu, Esq.
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