04 October 2010

Feast of St Francis

All good wishes to my Franciscan sisters and brothers on this Feast day! Francis is universally beloved --- a truly ecumenical Saint and I share in that, not least because I am formerly Franciscan. He is associated with a spirituality of joy and freedom because in it one rests completely in the arms of God.

One Camaldolese monk (Dom Robert Hale) notes that the Benedictine Camaldolese have an ongoing dialogue going with the Franciscans, a dialogue which encourages the Franciscans explore the more contemplative side of Franciscanism and which encourages the Camaldolese explore the more evangelical side of their own charism.

My own favorite Franciscan quote (though not literally from St Francis) is the well-known "Preach the Gospel always; use words if necessary." Quite a task for a hermit and a writer --- but really the essential task before all of us, namely, to BE before we DO, and do mainly in the being. It works for contemplatives and for evangelists equally well. My prayer on this feast day is that each of our lives may be a wholehearted expression of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the way St Francis' was!