Fr. Benedict Groeschel is a Franciscan priest and one of the founding members of the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in Yonkers, NY. Anyone who listens to or watches EWTN (the Catholic TV and radio station) will know who he is by his frequent appearances. Although I have not caught him on the TV or radio, I have read several of his books and listened to him live. We have been blessed to have him come to our area and give presentations for the last 20 years. I have been attending (most of) these Days of Reflection for the last 8 years. Each time I leave, I think that it may be the last. Father is now 77 and he is a bit more frail each year. He teases us that he might not be here next year, but then gently reminds us that we might not be there either.
As I listened to him this year I felt the overwhelming feeling of awe as I realized that we were truly in the presence of one of the great theologians in the Catholic Church today. He is brilliant... and not just about theology. I think that's why I like him so much. He holds several degrees in psychology (although he says the purpose of psychology is to make take people from misery to mere unhappiness) and knows world history like the back of his hand. He never uses notes and is a terrific story teller. (He also has an extraordinary knack with accents.)
Of all of the things that I've learned from Fr. Groeschel, the thing that strikes me the most is that it's OK to be outspoken, opinionated, bold, funny, sarcastic and a humble believer. He has reminded us that the word nice is only used in the Old Testament twice and both times were sarcastic. (The word does not appear in the New Testament.) What a gift he is to us in the Catholic Church today and what a blessing to listen to the words and to be in the presence of this great man.