Thursday, April 5, 2012

Reflections on the Franciscan Life Style

I am discovering that my imagination is being colored by dangerous and rapidly deteriorating passions; natural passions becoming unnatural. I have defiled my current earth and notion of heaven, so I really need a new heaven and a new earth. My faith needs to evolve from theory to a love-affair. This love for God and my fellow-man flows out of this love-affair. Politeness, good manners and never refusing to help the poor is the expression of this love-affair flowing out of me.
In order to recover my natural passions I place them in the light of supernatural pleasure. I focus on God’s supernatural light in order that it is more perfectly united to the natural. By imitating Christ, I see myself as servant and secondary figure, where humiliation is transformed into holiness and happiness. I learn to expect nothing, and start enjoying everything. As this joy increases, so does my faith: I see everything as coming from and passing through God’s love.
I am also compelled to forgo possessions lest I need weapons and laws to defend them, and so embrace this form of poverty. By embracing this poverty I build up the positive and creative monuments of peace. When evil attacks me with its forbidden good, I respond with love rather than lust. This new-found love invites everyone I meet to take a spiritual journey with me; swayed by my persuasion and disarmed by my generosity. The Holy Spirit graces my love in terms of sacrifice and crucifixion. He also draws me closer to the crucified Christ Who makes me more cheerful and humane as the manifestation of His supernatural power is released in me. I become a giver, centered in thanksgiving.
During this conversion God illustrates and illuminates all things. I stop fearing them as I wonder at them, and their significance. I behold the beginningless beginnings in which there is nothing else; and see everything as separate and sacred. This in turn allows me to become nomadic rather than stationary; to go anywhere among any kind of men, so long as there is nothing they can cling to. I remain obedient but not dependent. I am free as the wind in relation to the world around me. I embrace the emphatic attitude for action, and a spirit of swiftness as I step out into these uncharted seas of charity; treating everyone with unaffected gaiety and fellowship.
So I am:
• Turning my passions into the gestures of politeness and hospitality.
• Becoming a mystic, believing in mysticism and not in mystification.
• Refusing to be deceived by the illusion of mass-suggestion.
• Seeing the image of God multiplied but never monotonous.
• Revering my neighbor as valuable and taking him/her seriously.
• Bringing amnesty and reconciliation to the whole world.
• Satisfied with my debt and dependence on the crucified Christ.
• Infusing my thoughts with thanksgiving as I see everything as gift.
• Living in the home of the Trinity.

St. Francis of Assisi by G.K. Chesterton (1923). The only change my reflections made is in the style of the book: I personalized them instead of leaving them in the second and third person plural (we, us, they and them).

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