Why yes, I am alliterating my titles.
To start with St. Francis—it’s his feast day! Dominicans celebrate the feast days of Franciscans (and vice versa!), because we just love each other that much. :) Well, we do, but here’s the story.
So, happy Feast Day, Franciscans! We celebrate with you!
Might be a good time to remind everyone that St. Francis didn’t really give us the “Prayer of St. Francis” (it was written in the 60s) and that he did more than just like animals. St. Francis was a pretty bad-ass saint. The Word on Fire documentary about him in The Pivotal Players is eye-opening, if you’ve only ever thought of him that way. This piece is a good overview.
This is just a reflection—a thought—on something I’ve been pondering this week.
I’m 37. That means in three years, I’ll be 40 (God willing and the creek don’t rise). That’s a good chunk of time living on planet earth. That’s two score of years!
But one thing I have noticed in those almost 40 years is how vital forgiveness is, how terrible it is for a person who doesn’t forgive past things to be weighed down by that anger and resentment and pain.
Holding on to that anger does nothing to the person who wronged you. It hurts you.
Some things aren’t possible to forgive easily. That’s true. They require work and prayer and maybe sessions with therapists or other professionals.
But after seeing a teenager forgive the woman who murdered his brother—he hugged her, for pete’s sake!—it just brought home to me how vital this call of Christ is.
We’re called to forgive the way we want to be forgiven.
I honestly don’t know how this young man did this. Christ works strongly in his life, is all I can say. If someone killed my brother, I’d be….full of rage. I’d be absolutely incapable of this kind of grace, at least at this point.
This teenager puts me to shame.
And in a way, this ties into St. Francis and his story about perfect joy (I excerpted this from a longer piece that you can read here.)
“One day, on the road home, Francis was walking with Br. Leo. Francis said to Br. Leo; ‘If the Order of Friars became world famous for doing good works, and spreading the Gospel, this would not be perfect joy. Br. Leo asked, ‘Father Francis, what then would be perfect joy?’ Francis responded, ‘If all the most famous and powerful people in the land entered the Order of Friars, and worked with us proclaiming the Gospel, healing the sick, caring for the poor, and converting many souls to Christ, this would not be perfect joy!’ Br. Leo then says, ‘Please Father Francis, tell me what is perfect joy!’ Francis said; ‘Brother Leo, if we come to our friary, after this long journey, tired, wet, cold, and hungry, longing for a meal, and a warm dry place to sleep, and we knock on the door, and hear from within our brothers who ask, ‘Who are You?’ We respond that we are your brothers coming home from a long journey, and we wish for you to let us in. But instead of the welcome we long for, we hear a response from inside, go away; we do not know who you are. We are expecting no one, you must be liars and thieves, intending to harm us! If, Brother Leo, after that, we can still have peace in our heart, that is Perfect Joy!’”
Man. I have such a long way to go to achieve perfect joy.
But back to forgiveness—run of the mill forgiveness—in the words of Into the Woods, “People make mistakes!” And they do. We’re hurt in all sorts of little ways that the other person might not even notice. But we have a choice. We can either hold on to that hurt and let it poison us (because it doesn’t poison the other person), or we can forgive and stop poisoning ourselves.
This isn’t new ground. But it’s something I’ve been thinking about this week.
And that leads us to fear! (And then we’ll do some fun things, I promise, so this isn’t all heavy.)
Satan loves fear. He loves to play on our sense of inadequacy and comparison and uncertainty. He love, love, loves it.
Christ does not call us to fear. He calls us to trust and joy and hope.
So, if you’re feeling a lot of fear or doubt or inadequacy—tell Satan to get behind you and that Mary is crushing his head. :) And so is St. Michael.
(Do you say the St. Michael prayer daily? I recommend it!)
On the blog this week:
The cover is 99% done. I love it and can’t wait to show it to you.
I’ve read the forward for the book and I love it. Can’t wait to tell you who’s writing it.
Basically it’s a lot of I love what’s happening but I can’t tell you yet! :)
(If you want to be the first to know, sign up for the newsletter…..)
So glad to be going on retreat. If you have prayer requests, hit me up!