Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Why after him?
I thought last night as I joined almost 300 other Franciscans of all sorts in remembering Francis' passing into the fullness of life (called the transitus): what an amazing man, to have all these people praying in his honor all these years later. And truly he is, a gift from God to us all. Not to call us to be him, but to do what he did: find our true selves in the will of the Good God who made and makes us. What we are before God, as Francis reminds us, is what we are. No more, and no less. That is the true basis of all humility. Francis was aware of his gifts, and was willing to use them with great conviction, but never wanted to forget that they were gifts and so he needed to focus on the Giver and never claim them as simply his own, to do with as he pleased. I pray God will help us all do the same, and trust that He will if we open ourselves to him, as little and imperfect as we are. Remembering God's love of the saints is not an indictment against those who admire them, but a call to believe that God can indeed love, and does choose to love us. As one friar said when he witnessed a moment of gruffness from Padre Pio, now St. Pio: "If that man can be a saint, then there's hope for all of us!" And Pio smiled at him, because he knew it was true.
So remember: if God could love Francis, the vain, showy, spendthrift son of a merchant, he can love each of us. And love us into holiness, if we say yes.
Pax et Bonum!