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The Franciscan Way: Weekly Summary

The Franciscan Way

Summary: Sunday, June 21-Friday, June 26, 2015

Francis set out to read reality through the eyes and authority of those who have “suffered and been rejected”—and come out resurrected. (Sunday)

I believe that both Francis and Clare knew and loved from a different source; they knew by participation in a Larger Knowing and Loving that many of us call God. (Monday)

Francis spent much of his time praying in solitude in nature. He practiced contemplation, or “a long loving look at the real,” which allowed him to see in a new way. (Tuesday)

For Francis, Christ was in everything, so everyone and every part of creation was inherently deserving of respect because they all reflected a part of the image of the God who made them. (Wednesday)

In Franciscan theology, the best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better. Just go ahead and do it better. If you really believe in the values you say you believe in, then put them into practice. (Thursday)

True growth in holiness is a growth in willingness to love and be loved and a surrendering of willfulness, even holy willfulness (which is still “all about me”). (Friday)

 

Practice: The Sacraments

St. Francis understood that the particular and the ordinary were the gateway to Heaven, to union with God. Everywhere he looked, he found the sacred. Read the following poem—Daniel Ladinsky’s paraphrase of Francis’ experience—slowly and aloud several times. Memorize a phrase or even the entire poem. Let its words, rhythm, and meaning sink deeper within your body and being. Then go out into your world and find ribbons of grace all around.

The Sacraments

I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel, about the Sacraments—
he got so excited

and ran into a hollow in his tree and came
back holding some acorns, an owl feather,
and a ribbon he had found.

And I just smiled and said, “Yes, dear,
you understand:
everything imparts
His grace.”

Gateway to Silence:
“I am who I am in the eyes of God, nothing more and nothing less.” —Francis of Assisi

Reference: 
Daniel Ladinsky, Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West (Penguin Compass: 2002), 53. Used with permission.

For further study:
Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi
Francis: Turning the World on Its Head: Subverting the Honor/Shame System (CD, MP3 download)
Hope Against Darkness: The Transforming Vision of Saint Francis in an Age of Anxiety

Image credit: Legend of St Francis: 5. Renunciation of Worldly Goods (detail fresco), 1297-99, Giotto di Bondone, Upper Church, San Francesco, Assisi

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