Life behind the stone walls of a prison compound is not a cakewalk, nor is it expectedto be. For one who has been wrongly accused it provides plenty of opportunity to throw pity parties and even to rail at God or those who failed to exonerate him, or the prison system, if one so chooses.
But, Father Gordon will have none of that. He has remained faithful to the vows of his priesthood, and like the Jesus that he imitates in his life, he allows his wrongful conviction to be used for greater good. Like Joseph who was cast into a well by his brothers, and then sold into slavery, he has allowed himself to be shaped by the circumstances he has been in to become the priest that he is now, and the faithful servant of a God who has allowed much suffering in his life.
St. Teresa of Avila was a faithful servant of God, known to have undergone many trials, but also to have done so with humor. On one occasion while en route to visit one of her monasteries, she was bucked off her horse, and she famously said: "Lord, if this is the way You treat Your friends, it is no wonder You have so few."
It was said tongue in cheek, for she in her faithfulness was an instrument in bringing many to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Father Gordon, though claiming ignorance of his part in bringing fellow prisoners to Christ, has done much the same, and with a tougher audience than many St. Teresa encountered. He has worked with men who have been rejected by polite society and have in their own way rejected the society that turned its back on them. Father Gordon, having been rejected by those who should have had his back, like his bishop, and his successor, and having been imprisoned falsely, knows their plight, and has chosen to meet them where they are at, and to help them to climb up from their circumstances.
The well known pastor and writer Max Lucado has a book called "You'll Get Through This," and in his book there is some commentary about how God shapes His servants. He says:
Compassion matters to God. This is the time for service, not self-centeredness. Cancel the pity party. Love the people God brings to you. This test will be your testimony.
2 Corinthians 1:4 reminds us God comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.
You didn't sign up for this crash course in single parenting or caring for a disabled spouse, did you? No, God enrolled you. Why? So you can teach others what He has taught you. Rather than say, "God, why?" ask, "God, what?" What can I learn from this experience? Your mess can become His message!Max Lucado's lesson, so eloquently written, was well learned and taught to all of us who read These Stone Walls, but above all was passed on to another Max, Pornchai "Maximilian" Moontri.
In The Parable of the Prisoner, a post I wrote in September 2014, I gave a brief synopsis in parable form of Pornchai and his journey to hell and back to the loving arms of Jesus and His Mother Mary, while accompanied on that journey by the redoubtable Father Gordon. In that posting I suggested in the end that readers of that post wander over to These Stone Walls and follow the faith journey of Pornchai and Father Gordon.
But, that is not your only option. Today Father Gordon announced the new site Mercy to the Max, which is a focus on the faith journey of Pornchai.
For those of you who have come across the story of Pornchai, of his journey to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary from the depths of abandonment and despair this will be a great place to read up on his walk with Christ and be inspired to deepen your own faith.
Jesus loves us all, and his angels sing for great joy at each one of us who turns from a life of sin and heartache to set our eyes on Him. With the love that Jesus bestowed on Father Gordon, which he in turn shared with Pornchai, we have seen the beginning of what will be a life long walk of faith for Pornchai.
So, now another faithful Catholic priest, Father David Byers has brought to us a blog site devoted to Max and his journey. Mercy to the Max not only promises to share how Mercy came to Max, but by his inspiration how Mercy is available to us all.
This is great, and is going to be great. Link to Mercy to the Max, read it, share it, and ponder it. You will be glad you did.