The Franciscan Way: Beyond the Bird Bath — Center for Action and Contemplation

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The Franciscan Way: Beyond the Bird Bath

Have you ever wondered if you are really following the path Jesus walked? There’s a longing in your heart for a deeper connection to the Gospel’s message of humility and love.

But how do you live that out in a world fixated on competition and overconsumption? When our culture—our world—rewards us for consuming, for power, for winning? We often hear God is unconditional love, but we’re troubled when we see people telling others they don’t deserve that love.

What if the spiritual path isn’t about performing, achieving, or climbing up but going downward and inward?

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. —Carl Jung

We know that questioning tradition and doctrine can feel scary or even shameful. But you are in good company—in the company of saints, even! In fact, one of the most revered figures in all Christianity, Saint Francis of Assisi, felt these very same longings and asked the same questions.

The “alternative orthodoxy” of St. Francis, while not mainstream, is wholly embraced by Catholic tradition. (In fact, Pope Francis took his papal name in honor of St. Francis!) When St. Francis embarked on Jesus’ path of poverty, many people were stunned. His father was outraged. A rich man trading in his golden robes for a burlap tunic? But Francis was elated. His joy was found in walking the path of humility, a path that brought him closer to those shunned by society and deeper into God’s love.

Reflecting on the work of Franciscan priest and bestselling author Richard Rohr, our online course The Franciscan Way: Beyond the Bird Bath shows an alternative path, revealing St. Francis’ message of loving all creation as God does—without exception.



What can you expect in The Franciscan Way?
In The Franciscan Way you won’t be asked to strip away your clothes, renounce your life, or quit your job. But you will be asked to honestly examine how things that feed the ego, such as power and competition, could be limiting your spiritual growth. You’ll study the life of St. Francis to find a way of surrender and simplicity that resonates with who you are. You’ll deepen your authentic spirituality by:

  • Watching exclusive videos and listening to audio from Richard Rohr.
  • Reflecting on articles to help you find your place in the Great Chain of Being, connecting with those at the margins—the vulnerable that Jesus calls us to protect.
  • Using contemplation and meditation to help free you from the ego and inspire actions rooted in humility, peace, and openness.
  • Discussing course content and Franciscan themes, like Alternative Orthodoxy and Univocity of Being, with spiritual seekers of diverse backgrounds from around the world.
  • Engaging with a Teaching Assistant who can answer your questions and provide basic guidance on the course material.

When does registration end and the course begin?
Over 7 weeks you’ll learn to walk the Franciscan Way. Blessed are the meek, the poor, and those who suffer. Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount resonate just as loudly as if they were spoken right here, right now. It’s a message the world so desperately needs to remember. That’s why we offer The Franciscan Way twice a year.

Start Date End Date Registration Opens Registration Closes
July 15, 2020 September 1, 2020 May 6, 2020 Registration is open!


What is the cost and commitment for The Franciscan Way?
The course costs $120 per person. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and past participants, we are able to offer financial assistance up to one week before registration closes. Be sure you use this form to apply for aid before registering for the course. Questions? Our customer support team is ready to help. Call 505-247-1636 or email [email protected]. In addition to course fees, you will want to keep in mind:

  • You are the driving motivator behind your participation. We’re here to guide and support, but the commitment and follow through is all up to you.
  • Take a look at our language and technical requirements before registering to make sure you are capable of taking the course.
  • Registration closes two weeks before the course opens or as soon as the course fills, whichever comes first.
  • Course content will no longer be available once the course ends at 11:30 p.m. US Mountain Time on the last day of class.
  • Invest 2-4 hours per week on the required reading, online discussion, and personal reflections. Supplemental readings are optional and may increase your time in the course.

St. Francis calls us to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Are you ready to embrace the call in a way that is meaningful in your own life?

Watch a preview of one of Fr. Richard’s teachings:



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