I learned today that, as the Romans put it, you lived. You fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. And now you have entered into the eternal presence of the Lord and have probably heard "well done" by now.
I first became acquainted with your writing through a musician, Rich Mullins (who you've probably reconnected with by now) and his music that was affected by your teaching and writing. I'm pretty sure you had something to do with the title of his "Liturgy, Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band" album.
Speaking of ragamuffins, your book The Ragamuffin Gospel taught me about the truth of God's amazing grace maybe more than anything I've ever read or heard. It was one of those few books that moved me to tears every few pages it seemed (and I don't cry hardly ever). It's one of the few books that I would buy in bulk to give to friends. My favorite quote from the book is actually not your own (from Robert Capon, Between Noon and Three, 114-15) but one that captures the spirit of the book. You, a Franciscan Catholic, describe in living color how the Protestant Reformers must have felt when they rediscovered grace and the gospel:
The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen hundred year old, two hundred proof grace—of bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single handedly.
To this you add:
In essence, the Reformers recovered the biblical gospel: That God accepts us sinners not because of any work or supposed merit of our own, but because of His own mercy, on the ground of Christ’s finished work in which by grace we put our trust. Thus, today we remember that Christianity at the core is “not primarily a moral code but a grace filled journey; it is not essentially a philosophy of love but a love affair; it is not keeping rules with clenched fists but receiving a gift with open hands.”
Ragamuffin Gospel was also a story of your journey. Your obituary in short form and your last work All is Grace (your memoir) show us that you lived a life in need of grace, you reveled in it, and you passed it on to other beggars. Thank you for your brokenness and transparency.
When my son was born in 2003, we named him Brennan. Partly because we liked the meaning of the name in its original Gaelic ("Prince" or "sword") but mostly because we wanted him to emulate you. We continue to pray that he will.