Is to be un-human…

A Franciscan voice will insist on loving one another as God has loved us to an extravagant and foolish degree because it is how, as Francis explains in his Canticle, we give glory back to God. Having been created in the image and likeness of God, unlike trees or flowers or fire or the moon, we are most fully human when we love, forgive, and work toward peace. To be violent, vengeful, or selfish is to be un-human!

~Francis of Assisi and the Future of Faith by Daniel Horan OFM

Why should we?

Many Christians seem to believe that if they try to follow God’s will, things should go well for them. But holiness has nothing to do with an easy life, except perhaps to militate against it. If we are truly striving to live holy lives, we should expect to face tough decisions, difficult circumstances, mockery, persecution, and even death.

If the Holy Family could not escape such trials, why should we?

~Kevin Birnbaum, Keeping up with the Josephs « the candle

[Sorry to be sharing yet another quote directly from the web, it’s just that there has been so much good stuff out their lately.]

Even Mary’s faith is a “journeying” faith…

Saint Luke describes the reaction of Mary and Joseph to Jesus’ words with two statements: “They did not understand the saying which he spoke to them,” and “his mother kept all these things in her heart” (2:50, 51) Jesus’ saying is on too lofty a plane for this moment in time. Even Mary’s faith is a “journeying” faith, a faith that is repeatedly shrouded in darkness and has to mature by persevering through the darkness. Mary does not understand Jesus’ saying, but she keeps it in her heart and allows it gradually to come to maturity there.

~Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives via a minor friar.

New Sandals: Revised Theses on Franciscan Discernment

The Wandering: what’s happening in my life isn’t working for whatever reason — there is a pull, the hand of  God pointing me in something more.

The Leper: I’ve found something for which I’m looking — some type of encounter, prayer and/or ministry, has grabbed my heart and won’t let go.

Playing in Churches: I need to do something — I don’t know what, so let me start actually doing something.

All of a sudden: brothers and sisters.  Build churches long enough and I’ll eventually find myself involved in religious life — do not be afraid of this. The jump is a long way down — but never underestimate the gravity-defying power of grace.

Up to now, I’ve done nothing: reaching religious life is just a reminder of all the things I haven’t yet done.  Say your prayers, work hard, go to sleep.  Repeat.

via New Sandals: Revised Theses on Franciscan Discernment.

This might seem absurd…

Human beings are called to love, to forgive, and to work for peace just as the purpose of fire is to provide heat and light and the wind is to be serene and provide the weather. To worldly wisdom, this might seem absurd. Isn’t the purpose of being a human to earn lots of money or be successful in the business realm? Shouldn’t people strive to care for their families? What do love, forgiveness, and peace have to do with being human? Francis answers in the way of Christ: it has everything to do with being human.

~Francis of Assisi and the Future of Faith by Daniel Horan OFM

Christmas is not only astonishing because…

A certain amazed, astonished, joyful wonder is the spiritual climate of Christmas. We are amazed to see that the birth of Jesus Christ reverses everything that our insecure and acquisitive minds think power and mightiness should mean. The Word of God, through whom all things are created, is born as one of us, born to plain parents, born away from home, born into a people and a place that were considered important by no known criterion of human civilization.

But Christmas is not only astonishing because it is an amazing and even scandalous revelation of God; Christmas also invites us to wonder because it reveals who we really are, what creation really is.

a minor friar: Reek of Stupefaction.

A Christmas Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson

Loving Father,

Help us remember the birth of Jesus,

that we may share in the songs of the angels,

the gladness of the shepherds,

and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate

and open the door of love all over the world.

Let kindness come with every gift

and good desires with every greeting.

Deliver us from evil by the blessing

which Christ brings,

and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning

make us happy to be thy children,

and Christmas evening bring us to our beds

with grateful thoughts,

forgiving and forgiven,

for Jesus’ sake.

Amen.

 

They left all they had…

We are in much the same position as those shepherds on that first Christmas. We have heard the good news. What will we do with it? The shepherds took action. They left all they had to worship the newborn Lord. They risked humiliation sharing the strange message with others. Will we? Do we have the courage to live like the shepherds?

~Kevin Birnbaum, The adoration of the shepherds « the candle.