The self we become in true prayer…

Who we become in God is then his work and not our own success in conforming to some ideal. The self we become in true prayer is seldom the self we envisioned, but it is a new and marvelous self that God fashions out of the gradual redeeming of the false self we now acknowledge as the work of our own misguided idealism. We then know God in what he has done in us to enable us to discover our true face. And in that face only do we see the reflection of God as he really is.

~Murray Bodo, O.F.M. — The Way of St. Francis: The Challenge of Franciscan Spirituality for Everyone

Meeting with the leper

Then the holy lover of complete humility went to the lepers and lived with them, serving them most diligently for God’s sake; and washing all foulness from them, he wiped away also the corruption of the ulcers, just as he said in his Testament: “When I was in sins, it seemed extremely bitter to me to look at lepers, and the Lord himself led me among them and I practiced mercy with them.”

~Thomas of Celano, First Life of Saint Francis

Tomorrow is World Leprosy Day. You can learn more about this important effort to increase awareness about this terrible disease at their website: http://www.worldleprosydayusa.org/.

The idealized self…

We commune with God as we honestly are and not as we would like to be. The idealized self is always dying in prayer, because it cannot bear the truth. And if we let it die and pray from who we are becoming, then our image of God changes as we understand more clearly who we are.

~Murray Bodo, O.F.M. — The Way of St. Francis: The Challenge of Franciscan Spirituality for Everyone

I was kind of happy…

Thinking back on it today, it’s clear that something else, a very real, inconvenient truth was there in the back of my mind when I got that promotion, deposited the big paycheck, bought the cool car, moved into the downtown loft, got that amazing Christmas present, traveled to the interesting places, went to the hip parties, landed a big client:

This is as good as it gets…but it’s not quite good enough.

The fun wasn’t fun enough, the luxuries weren’t luxurious enough, the excitement wasn’t exciting enough to completely smother out that part of my soul that begged for something more. It wasn’t that I wasn’t grateful — to the contrary, I regularly felt overwhelmed with gratitude for all the wonderful things in my life — it’s that there was a subtle but present sense of despair that these things weren’t doing what they were supposed to do. I was kind of happy. But why wasn’t I fully happy, why wasn’t I completely at peace, why was I still a little bit restless, even when I technically had it all?

~Jennifer Fulwiler, “How the Superbowl reminded me why I love Lent

Francis’ Approach to Peacemaking

So what was so special about Francis’ approach to peacemaking? First, he believed peace cannot really be “made”. Rather, it must be “embodied” – personal spirituality must precede political reality. Peace for Franciscans is not an abstract ideal, nor is it a concept (such as Kant’s notion of “perpetual peace”), but is embodied in individuals before it is demonstrated in communities.

~Scott M. Thomas, “Franciscan guide to dialogue” (The Tablet, 10/06/06)