May 19, 2023

A warning, a dream and a gift: stories of our readers’ favorite verses

Marty Brown’s favorite Bible verse from the Gospel of Mark helps guide him to be in touch with his “better angel” in his relationships with his wife, Lauren, and their children, Alison and Camille. (Submitted photo)

Marty Brown’s favorite Bible verse from the Gospel of Mark helps guide him to be in touch with his “better angel” in his relationships with his wife, Lauren, and their children, Alison and Camille. (Submitted photo)

(Editor’s note: The Criterion has invited our readers to share a favorite Bible verse or a favorite quote that helps remind them of God’s presence in their lives and/or helps center them in their relationships with other people. Here is part six of their responses. See part five | See part seven)

By John Shaughnessy

Marty Brown’s favorite Bible verse is so much a part of his life that his wife Lauren had it embroidered on a journal for him as a gift.

Brown also sees the verse every time he attends Mass or prays at St. Joan of Arc Church in Indianapolis.

“My favorite Bible verse is Mark 8:37,” he notes. “My favorite translation is the one on the back wall at St Joan of Arc: ‘What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’ ”

The verse has become a touchstone for Brown, the father of 6-year-old Alison and 4-year-old Camille.

“This verse is a call to humility and magnanimity at the same time. I’ve reflected on this verse through many seasons and challenges of my life.  It clarifies my priorities every time. 

“For example, times when I’ve unknowingly drifted away from being the best father or husband or son I could be, that verse will come to mind, and it jars me back to my ‘better angels.’ Similarly, there have been times when I’ve become too concerned with work and professional status, and this verse has reminded me what is most important to focus on.”

Brown also says there is a historical perspective on why this verse is featured so prominently on the back wall of St. Joan of Arc Church. In their book, Every Heart an Altar, parish historians Brenda Henry and Jean Zander included this note about the parish’s pastor, Msgr. Maurice O’Connor, when the church was built in the 1920s:

“In recognizing the pitfalls of the excesses of the Roaring 20s, Monsignor O’Connor directed that the Scripture from Mark 8:37 be painted on the back wall for all to see upon exiting Mass and going out to their daily activities.” 

 Brown adds, “It’s applicable today as well.”

The inspiration for a dream

Bob Teipen was on a pilgrimage in Ireland when he heard the Bible verse that changed his life and captured the essence of a dream he had.

The verse is from Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope, ensue in affliction, persevere in prayer.”

Teipen’s dream was to create a Catholic radio station in the Indianapolis area that would continue to grow and help share the Catholic faith, all with the goal of bringing people closer to Christ.

“I selected [that verse] as a theme for a venture inspired by the Holy Spirit—Catholic Radio Indy,” says Teipen, a member of St. John Vianney Parish in Fishers, Ind., in the Lafayette Diocese.

Since starting the radio station in 2004, the frequencies for the radio station have grown to the point that Catholic Radio Indy now reaches more than 1 million people.

As for the continuing influence of that verse, Teipen says, “I had the verse painted on a bulkhead as you enter the Catholic Radio office.”

Sharing the gift of faith

When Francis Ziegler came upon his favorite quote for the first time, it resonated so completely with him because he had already seen it being lived out by some of the heroes in his life.

It’s a quote often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Go and preach the Gospel. Use words if you must.”

“This quote came into my world upon our present pope taking the name Francis,” says Ziegler, a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Indianapolis. “I had never heard that saying about St. Francis prior, but it has stuck with me since that time. I have had great mentors who did just that and preach every day.”

His mentors include his father James, “an excellent example of preaching the Gospel with his daily actions.”

Ziegler says he also benefitted from the example of his late uncle, Father Ambrose Ziegler, a priest who served the Lafayette Diocese.

“I was also taught 12 of my 16 years of Catholic education by Franciscan priests and sisters who lived that example.

“I try and live the same, as our Pope Francis wants us to evangelize through our daily actions.” †

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