|How does a saint avoid wrath with those less saintly?|
As much as I might struggle to keep this from being an ill-formed, rambling post, the disparate thoughts won't line up neatly. Pastor Rob Bell's book, Love Wins, raised the question a question for dogmatic Christians: How could Mohandas Gandhi, the Great Soul (Mahatma) himself, be in Hell? For most of us, he couldn't. And so we might accompany Bell on his mental ambulation down a steep slope to the rejection of Hell itself. Pastor Chad Holtz followed Bell there and lost his job for it. Rev. Holtz might very well have needed a patron in his corner to help him adhere to his faith in the face of financial strain, but... did Gandhi?
|How does a saint avoid pride and vanity?|
Or Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Maybe. Perhaps they struggle no less than others, but just differently. Perhaps they need to keep their vanity in check, to strive against the perils of admiration, of flattery, of the support that erodes independence and idealism. Perhaps a patron helps them to keep wrath, envy, lust, and pride in check. [I'd like to think that they had already beaten sloth, greed, and gluttony.]
|Marcellus -- no longer the centurion|
As for Marcellus himself, what qualifies him to be the patron of such high-powered clients? In AD 298, he was a simple Roman NCO, stationed in Tangiers. The Emperor's birthday was always the cause of a great feast, preceded by a sacrifice to Rome's many gods. When Marcellus' turn to eat the sacrificial meat came up, he passed. Question, he declared himself a Christian and gave back his weapons and armor. Condemnation and execution followed quickly.
|Fr. Daniel Berrigan|
|The Brother Berrigan|