Friday, October 10, 2014

Fr. Benedict Groeschel O.F.M. RIP

 Fr. Dale Matson

“The Rev. Benedict Groeschel, a writer and preacher who became one of the country's best-known Catholic priests, long operating out of a tiny bedroom in Larchmont, died Friday at the age of 81 after a long illness.”

My mentor gave me a copy of Fr. Groeschel’s book “Spiritual Passages: The Psychology of Spiritual Development” (1993) in 1994. Dr. Bob Wilson wrote, “To be read with faith, hope and love. Pax et Bonum.” Now both Bob and Father Groeschel have both passed into the greater life.

Fr. Groeschel and I have two things in common. We are both priests and psychologists. I appreciate his book and believe it is one of my most referred to texts on my bookshelf. I used it for a number of classes I taught on “Wellness” before retirement at Fresno Pacific University. His insights into the “doctrine of the three ways” and the “four voices of God” are useful and can be applied to the life of anyone caring to listen.

As someone who taught developmental psychology, I believe this is one of the best books I have read dealing with spiritual development. It is modeled after the lives of the saints of the church. It is a spiritual development parallel to Maslow’s secular developmental characteristics of fully actualized individuals in that Maslow also looked at specific positive examples like Abraham Lincoln.

While some of his statements have been criticized, it is difficult to imagine someone with so high profile not making mistakes over such a long span in the national spotlight. His writings were a blessing to me, my students and to the thousands who watched him on TV over the span of more than 20 years.

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