Monday, October 04, 2004

Notes on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

I've honestly never been a big fan of Francis, whose feast we celebrate today. Now I'll admit that Il Poverello is an important figure in the life of the Church: he's beloved by millions, and the numerous communities of religious women and men bearing his name have given great service to the Catholic community and to the world. For my own part, I'll admit to a certain fondness for the Prayer of St. Francis - which, I should note, Francis did not write and perhaps never even read. The saint himself, however, simply does not appeal to me on either an intellectual or an affective level. Perhaps this is precisely as it ought to be. The Franciscan way is but one of many spiritual charisms in the Church; it is not the best, and it is certainly not the worst. Indeed, it makes little sense to speak of a "best" or "worst" charism, as spirituality is not and must never be a "one size fits all" discipline. Catholic spirituality is, however, a "something for everyone" discipline, as the Catholic tradition includes enough ways of prayer and practice to suit seekers of diverse disposition. The Jesuit charism of finding God in all things and the gifts of Ignatian spirituality may fit me well, but they're not for everyone. The Franciscan charism is decidedly not my own, but there are many for whom it fits perfectly. On this, the feast of a popular saint who has never stirred my devotion, I'll offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the joyous cacophany of charisms in the Church. AMDG.


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