Thoughts from our Regional Spiritual Director - March 2017

Brothers and Sisters,

This year lent begins on March 1st. Once again we dedicate ourselves to follow and imitate Jesus, through self-denial and experience conversion through Gospel living in solidarity.

I am presently reading The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton by Dan Horan OFM. In it, Ilia Delio, OFS, offers a reflection on this experience of conversion according to the Franciscan Tradition. She writes:

True poverty creates community because it converts self-sufficiency into creative interdependency where the mystery unfolds for us. Only those who can see and feel for another can love another without trying to possess the other. Poverty is that free and open space within the human heart that enables us to listen to the other, to respect the other and to trust the other without feeling that something vital will be taken from us. . . .Conversion to poverty and humility is the nucleus of Christian evolution because it is the movement to authentic love; a movement from isolated “oneness” toward mutual relatedness, from individualism toward community, where Christ is revealed in the union of opposites in the web of life.

The culmination of this experience of change in Francis life took place in his life when he renounced his social status and perhaps taking too literal the words of Jesus, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, even life itself, cannot be my disciple”(Lk.14:26)

So the “poverello” writes, “Brothers, look at the humility of God, and pour your hearts before Him! Humble yourselves that you may be exalted by Him! Hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves, that He who gives Himself totally to you may receive you totally!”

Let us not forget what St. Bonaventure writes of Francis in his Major Legend of St. Francis, he writes, One day while devoutly hearing Mass of the Apostles, the Gospel was read in which Christ sends out His disciples to preach and gives them the Gospel forms of life, that they may not keep gold or silver, for their journey, nor two tunics etc. Hearing and understanding and committing this to memory, this friend of apostolic poverty was then overwhelmed with an indescribable joy. “This is what I want,” he said, “This is what I desire with all my heart!” sound familiar?

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A few people asked me about the origin of the Peace Prayer of St. Francis.  For more information, click on the link below:

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/a-closer-look-at-the-peace-prayer-of-saint-francis/

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