As many of you know I am a closet Benedictine and enjoy their approach to spirituality and prayer. I also am fascinated by the Franciscan’s approach which is inspired by St. Francis. Fr. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan, publishes a daily email meditation from the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) https://cac.org/category/daily-meditations/ I find their daily meditations useful as I continue the journey.
First, a few ideas from the Franciscan Calling that can integrated into our daily lives. Francis did not wish for himself or his followers to be priests, to take higher places on the Church’s hierarchical ladder of education, prestige, and power. Francis was apparently ordained a deacon, likely under pressure, because he never talks or writes about it. The sign of a true Franciscan heart is devotion to the Gospel, regardless of title, group, or official status. These hallmarks of the Secular Franciscan Order (from their formation manual For Up To Now) can be practiced by anyone:
- Simplicity (A spirituality that is genuine; without pretense)
- Poverty (Through love of the Gospel poverty develops confidence in the Father and creates internal freedom)
- Humility (The truth of what and who we really are in the eyes of God; freedom from pride and arrogance)
- A genuine sense of minority (The recognition that we are servants, not superior to anyone)
- A complete and active abandonment to God (Trusting in God's unconditional love)
- Conversion (Daily we begin again the process of changing to be more like Jesus)
- Transformation (What God does for us, when we are open and willing)
- Peacemaking (We are messengers of peace as Francis was)
Re-read these qualities of a Franciscan and discern if you are called to live in such a way, making the Gospel the very core of your day-to-day doings and being. What is yours to do?
Francis was known for his love of nature and so I offer these ideas as we enter the warm weather season. St. Paul writes: “Faith without works is dead.” If we believe that the earth is in crisis, we need to embrace behaviors that reflect our concern. Here are two concrete steps individual and parishes can take in solidarity with our mother Earth.
- Adjust the thermostat. Turning down the church’s and the rectory’s air conditioning or heating will further reduce your parish’s energy consumption. This is probably one of your parish’s most carbon intensive activities, but a change of just 5 degrees is a great start. Even better: Install programmable thermostats.
- Be energy efficient. During the summer months, close your curtains to block heat from the sun. During the winter, open your curtains during the day to allow the sun to warm your home. These simple steps can significantly reduce the need for air conditioning and heating, which are likely the most energy-intensive aspects of your home.
Let us continue to pray for peace and for the end of terrorism in our world!
In peace and courage,