I began to understand that my past experiences in prison and academia had laid the groundwork--were the preparatory crucible--for my future work as a street evangelist. My own past was being unlocked before me, and treasures were brought forward amidst my past sufferings and sins. I began to finally see all the pieces of my life as a coherent whole: the long walks in every kind of weather, the abiding care for at-risk youth, ex-cons and prostitutes, the intellectual desire to understand human history and defend the truth, the love for the fading treasures of the Catholic tradition, and lastly, the need for Christian brotherhood that is a nobler friendship than the solidarity I found amongst the "solid cons" in prison.
|Where's the brotherhood among Catholic men?|
The concerns and pre-occupations that gripped me also seemed to be some of the weakest parts of the Church in the "developed" West. The apostolate seemed to effortlessly provide a remedy for many of the needs of the Church: the need to re-claim and model a deeper sense of prayer and worship, the revival of a spirit of reparation, the need to reestablish a public prophetic witness, the need to go out and find poor sinners where they languish amidst spiritual starvation, and the recovery of Catholic masculinity and friendship.
What is clear is that the ministry will always be a part of my life until I am overcome by old age. It's become a part of who I am, just as it sprung from my own hopes and pre-occupations. I may only write about the ministry in fits and starts, but I'll always walk the streets in the hope that God will put me in just the right place at the right time.