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Confession: I am a terrible Franciscan

Our lovely new pope chose the name Francis, after Francis of Assisi, and my heart was warmed. As a Franciscan myself, I am grateful that Pope Francis seems to intend to consistently call our attention to the poverty in the world and to do something about it.

Now, I am indeed a Franciscan. I can't show you any credentials; you'll just have to take my word for it. But I am a terrible Franciscan.

I really love fashion, and clothes, and shoes. I have two boxes of make-up, and a drawer full of hair "stuff". I like having nice things surrounding me. My home and cubicle are filled with mementos of travels, family, friends, places I've been and want to go to, hobbies and memories. I have a lot of books. As Franciscans go, I'm pretty much a "fail".

Of course, Francis wasn't just about poverty of material goods (although that certainly was a big part of his life); he was about poverty of spirit. He wanted nothing to hold him back from being in relationship with God. He wanted none of the trappings of his wealthy upbringing to keep him from spreading the Good News - and he was well aware of the temptations those trappings held for him. If he had a book, then he'd need a place to keep the book, and then a house in which to keep the shelf for the book, and so on...

How are we to be poor? What is it that our Holy Father and St. Francis want us to know about poverty?

One of the first reasons was Francis’ love for the poor. How many poor people there still are in the world! And what great suffering they have to endure! After the example of Francis of Assisi, the Church in every corner of the globe has always tried to care for and look after those who suffer from want, and I think that in many of your countries you can attest to the generous activity of Christians who dedicate themselves to helping the sick, orphans, the homeless and all the marginalized, thus striving to make society more humane and more just. But there is another form of poverty! It is the spiritual poverty of our time, which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It is what my much-loved predecessor, Benedict XVI, called the “tyranny of relativism”, which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples. And that brings me to a second reason for my name. Francis of Assisi tells us we should work to build peace. But there is no true peace without truth! There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth. (emphasis mine)

I own too many shoes for one girl, but I also am working hard to know the Truth of Christ and live it out every day. Hopefully, Francis won't be too upset with me...

Comments

  1. Ha. Great post. Love it & definitely rang true for me. I am excited to see what Pope Francis has been called to do for the world. He has already lifted my spirits after such a yucky year of all that political garbage..

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