Because of generous love

“Consider, O human being, in what great excellence the Lord placed on you, for He created and formed you to the image of his beloved Son according to the body and to His likeness according to the spirit.” (Armstrong, 2000, p. 131).

This saying, chosen from the “Admonitions” of Francis, reveals some of the reasons for his reverent treatment of every person he met. The “iconic” character of the person, as image of the “beloved Son,” created as God’s likeness, is rooted in the Franciscan tradition from its very beginnings. Our humanity does not separate us from God, but connects us to God who chose to become human in Jesus because of generous love.

~ William J. Short OFM, “What is the Franciscan Imagination?,” Franciscan Connections: The Cord, March 2015

The more our outlook on the world changes

Contemplation in the Franciscan tradition can be a lot like the experience of conversion that takes place when we enter into a new relationship. When we enter into a new relationship, make a new friend, date a new partner, give birth to a new child, or form some other significant bond with another person, rarely are our lives changed in discrete, particular, and compartmentalized ways. Instead, something about us shifts. Something about the way we see the world is now informed by that relationship, and we can no longer go back to seeing things exactly the same way again. Maybe we are drawn to a new hobby or interest. Perhaps we look at art with a new eye or hear music with a new ear. Such is also the case with God. The more deeply we enter into relationship with the Creator, the more our outlook on the world changes.

What use are victories on the battlefield?

No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the catacombs of concentration camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are victories on the battlefield if we ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?

~ Regis Armstrong, The Franciscan Tradition (Spirituality in History)

To follow his lead

With nothing else to claim as his own, Francis disciplined his spirit to be guided by the Spirit of Christ, the Son, in order to follow the heavenly Father’s will and to please him alone. Poverty freed him to live out his baptismal call just as it gifted him with a transparency that drew others—women as well as men—to follow his lead.

~ Regis Armstrong, The Franciscan Tradition (Spirituality in History)

What must be most revered and reverenced

The lives and writings of the Franciscan men and women in this volume demonstrate the adaptability of Francis’s vision across cultures and throughout history. Each entry underscores the poverty at the crystal center of Francis’s spirituality. If nothing material matters, then only the immaterial—the spirit living within each and every one of us—is what must be most revered and reverenced. Then and only then will the promise of Franciscan spirituality—universal brotherhood and peace—be recognized and received.

~ Regis Armstrong, The Franciscan Tradition (Spirituality in History)

It is this that liberates him

The “most high, all-powerful, Lord” is above all “good”: this is what Francis never tires of reiterating. It is this that liberates him from the petty moments of life, enabling him to rise above human frailty and to trust in God alone.

~Regis Armstrong, The Franciscan Tradition (Spirituality in History)