Monday, December 28, 2009


Benedict called and asked me to pray for him today. I realize that I have not written about him in quite a while, and thus newer readers of my blog may not have a sense of who he is, how he breaks my heart, why he has brought me so much joy and tears in our small sporadic interactions over the years. This formerly homeless Vietnam veteran whom I met when he was homeless in my undergrad years has taught me quite a bit in the five years since I met him. Here are the few lessons I’ve mentioned on this blog:
  • He taught me to hope for redemption in the present tense, not only the future (1/9/08)
  • He taught me that love is always the right battle, even if I don’t know how it is best fought (10/29/08)
  • He redeemed a stressful election season with his humility (11/3/08)
  • He taught me about human dignity and what it does to a man to be robbed of it (1/26/09)
Benedict called me this afternoon asking for prayers (it is the first time he’s specifically asked for prayers in a year). With a felony on his record that keeps him unemployed these days, the process of staying off the streets has not been easy during this economic crisis. But he has just connected with some V.A. services that provide veterans with schooling and housing. He entreated me for prayers in the next two weeks as is application is processed.

Perhaps the biggest lesson Benedict has taught me is the value of continued prayers in a situation when God seems so slow to act, so small in his actions. Five years after I met Benedict on a cold night on the streets by campus and he scolded me for wearing sandals in the winter, offering me his spare pair of socks, I am still praying for him. Redemption is so slow, and Benedict’s ambitious hopes of reconciling with his ex-wife this year did not go well, and his faithfulness to make up for lost time with his five daughters and his growing collection of grandchildren often costs him the little resources he his able to build.

But redemption comes. I’ve watched it come to him against all hope, watched it come by means of an unjust felony conviction that got him off the streets four years ago. May it come again now. And since I grow weary of my seemingly ineffectual prayers, I want to ask any pray-ers among my readers to include Benedict in the next two weeks as he waits to see where this small glimmer of hope leads.

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

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