Manning, Truth & the Devil

As arguably the finest modern Christian wordsmith, Brennan Manning's writings may well pass the test of time.

Brennan trained as a Catholic priest, then became a hermit, a fisherman and also lectured at a Catholic seminary. He was married, divorced and a drunkard. His mind was strong, but not so his soul. Alcohol was his consuming vice, yet it never dulled the sharpness of his sober mind.

He wrote greatness penned in the gutter.

Manning's fragility was demonstrated over and over again to those who knew him well. He would preach his socks off, and then return to his motel rooms and binge. A tragic life mirrored in an outrageous cleverness of his mind and words.

Manning wrote:

The devil is the father of lies -

"he was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and father of lies. (John 8:44)

Manning further quotes scripture:

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8)

The devil is the great illusionist. He varnishes the truth. Satan prompts us to give importance to what has no importance; he clothes with false glitter what is least substantial and turns us away from what is surpassingly real. The evil one causes us to live in a world of delusion, unreality, and shadows.

Manning then quotes the late Jean Danielou:

"Truth consists in the mind's giving to things the importance they hold in reality."

Manning further develops 'reality':

"For the majority of us, what is most real is the world of our material existence; what is most unreal is the world of God."

Mankind speaks blindly and guides himself by what's new and so he swims with the tide; so too (Manning explains) Weathervane Christians whose number is legion.

But, the true believer's days and prayers are not rooted in pretense nor facade. For, they have learned well to distinguish good from evil. They have learned to sniff the sulfur fumes and turn quickly to pedal away.#

Today's Soul Snippet:

'The impossible is available to those who rely on the eternal.'

#Today's SoulSnack is largely from 'The Importance of Being Foolish' (HarperOne New York, 2005) pp 12-14