To reach the place

In Franciscan Spirituality, the poverty and humility of God form the foundation of our entire theology. God’s desire to love us and to be physically with us is manifested in Jesus, the Word of the Father. Our God is not a God of vindication but a God of reckless abandon, giving everything (kenosis) in order to complete His desire to love each one of us.

This is what fed the insatiable desire of Francis to conform himself to Jesus, imitating Him as completely as possible. Francis sees Jesus in the same light as the Father, poor and humble, but the beloved (totally loved) Son of the Father. Francis too wants to become a beloved son of the Father and pursues a life imitating his (as he remarks) elder brother Jesus, who alone can lead him to the Father.

For this reason, Francis for himself sets out on a path of poverty and humility in imitation of the life Jesus lived. This is the only way he sees where it is possible to move beyond personal needs and wants, beyond ourselves, and to reach the place of transformation and surrender.

~ Bob Fitzsimmons, OFS, “Understanding Franciscan Theology, Tradition and Spirituality” (FUN Manual)

The idols we make of our plans

There is a paradoxical kind of power in being willing to sweep away the idols we make of our plans. When Saint Paul writes that “for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10), he is telling us when he surrenders the notion that he could accomplish anything on his own, he discovers that God, working through him, does wonders beyond his own meager imaginings. It is precisely the same with our plans. When we stop insisting upon them and permit God to throw us a curve, and answer it with trust, wonders come our way.

He desired nothing else

When St. Francis of Assisi began to understand that his life was a gift of love, he desired nothing else than that his life become a loving gift to God and others. This shift in consciousness did not happen all at once. The journey from the assumption of absolute autonomy and the false egocentric notion that we are self-sufficient, to a posture of total surrender to God and the recognition of our genuine interconnectedness with all life takes time and requires daily conversion.

~ Gerry Straub, Daily Conversion

I did it my way

When we decide that we want to live life God’s way instead of our way, we are going to have to give up our way and trust that God’s way is better. I have often quoted my spiritual director, who has said to me repeatedly that the theme song of those in hell is, “I did it my way.”

~Fr. Larry Richards, Surrender! The Life Changing Power of Doing God’s Will

Your actions will be clear

The state of spacious heart openness is known in spiritual traditions as surrender. Not what you usually think about when you hear the word “surrender,” is it? We usually equate the word with capitulation and consider it a sign of weakness. But surrender, spiritually understood, has nothing to do with outer capitulation, with rolling over and playing dead. It has to do with keeping the right alignment inwardly that allows you to stay in the flow of your deeper sustaining wisdom—to “feel the force,” in those legendary words from the first Star Wars movie. In that state of openness you then decide what you’re going to do about the outer situation. whatever you do, whether you acquiesce or vigorously resist, your actions will be clear. 

Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Jesus via The Mercy Blog

Did they see me today or did they see Jesus today?

Go through each thing with Jesus, every encounter you had with a person or on the phone and ask yourself this question, “Did they see me today or did they see Jesus today?” If the answer is that they saw me, then there is still a lot that needs to be repented. People are supposed to be looking and seeing Jesus in my life. So I need to ask if I’m pushing myself, and my ideas, or am I pushing Jesus and His ideas?

Fr. Larry Richards, Surrender! The Life Changing Power of Doing God’s Will

It’s really very simple…

It’s really very simple. Am I building up the kingdom of heaven or am I building up my own kingdom? Am I putting God’s name first and proclaiming His name, or am I proclaiming my name? Am I doing everything for God’s glory, or for my glory? We have to focus on this every day. If I am going to live God’s will, it has to be because I first seek the kingdom. Then He promises everything else will fall into place.

~Fr. Larry Richards, Surrender!  The Life-Changing Power of Doing God’s Will

What a waste of a day!

What this means is if we are going to do the will of God, every day is going to be a day of self-sacrifice. Again, to make this real and practical I tell people that they should examine their consciences every night before they go to bed and ask, “Did I do at least one act of unselfishness today? Did I give my life away at least once today?” If the answer is no, then they squandered the whole day on themselves, only did what they wanted, only took care of themselves. What a waste of a day!

~Fr. Larry Richards, Surrender!  The Life-Changing Power of Doing God’s Will