Sunday, October 4, 2009

Why They Walk

St. Francis of Assisi

October 4th is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Order of Friars Minor (i.e. Franciscans).

Francis described himself as something like God's jester, and he engaged in deeds of love-inspired impetuosity because he thought God would enjoy such spontaneous, child-like acts. For example, while the men of his day were explaining the Gospel's teaching that love of poverty meant being willing to lose the material things of this world to win the crown of the World to Come (which is true), Francis said, "Yes -- but can't the Gospel also mean that we can really and truly embrace poverty for love of God?" And that's just what he did.

Jongleur de Dieu

I was reading a news article a few weeks back about Franciscans who were walking from place to place about the country as a humble spiritual exercise. It seems that in their journey this group of men in brown robes and sandals made an impression on at least a few of the people they came across: strangers would give them food and money, ask them about their journey, and discuss their own lives with them.

I didn't keep the link to the article I was reading, but I recall that the author tried to make the story seem like a modern tale of self discovery by asking whether the Franciscans walked to find God or walked because they'd found Him. I thought this bit of navel gazing missed the obvious point, which was that of course the Franciscans had already found God -- and in Franciscan simplicity the reason they walked is because Christ walked.

1 comment:

Kindred Spirit said...

Or as Saint Francis said, "It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching." Franciscan eloquent simplicity...