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Are you restless or hungry for more in your life? Are you seeking wisdom or looking for inspiration? The Gospel gave guidance to Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi as they followed in the footprints of Jesus some 800 years ago. The witness of their lives and values continue to inspire those of us on a spiritual journey today. Join Sister Michelle L’Allier and her guest, ordinarily on the first and third Tuesday of each month, for a time of shared reflection and conversation.

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Dec 21, 2021

Join Franciscan Associate Geri Dietz as she explores the Good News of the Gospel, including God’s goodness revealed to us in the vulnerability and humility of Jesus coming as a child.

 

From Geri’s interview: “What I loved when I was learning about the Associates, is that the charism that the Third Order has received, the grace that the Third Order has received, is continual conversion. And for me, when I heard that, that that was the deal maker for me. And then it was modeled by the Sisters and other Associates that we met.  We couldn't help but want to become Associates and be with these people who live the good news of Jesus.”

 

“The original nativity was inspired by his [Saint Francis’] trip in 1221 to the Holy Land, which included Jesus's traditional birthplace. So that influenced him being there, as well as the Scriptures which would be both in Matthew and Luke. Francis was deeply moved visiting the site where God became fully human. Hoping that others could enjoy that same profound, inspiration and experience, he encouraged believers to make pilgrimages to Bethlehem. ... Francis decided to do the next best thing because not a lot could go to Bethlehem. He thought I'm going to bring Bethlehem to the pilgrims. So on Christmas Eve in 1223, just a few years before he died, Francis created the first Nativity in the Italian city of what's called Greccio. And with the help of a local nobleman named John, Francis celebrated the birth of Jesus in a cave outside the town.”

 

“We can see how God has bent over the world and comes to us as a small, seemingly insignificant, vulnerable baby. We can be grateful that the Lord came to us in the form of a child instead of the form of a committee, a jury, a dictator, a king with royal pronouncements before him. ... Jesus, this baby, doesn't communicate a series of ideas or scientific principles or algorithms. The baby's not even speaking. The child is there for us to see the love of God in the flesh. And God comes to us in a very humble form, in a form that is poor. And for Francis, the incarnation reveals the presence of God in the world, in the littleness of our lives. In the littleness of a child, born in a place where animals eat and live. The littleness of those who you and I, and everyone listening, who know people who are homeless and vulnerable in those who suffer from disease and mental illness and those who are aged and lonely. Jesus is in those who have no room in anyone else's inn.”

 

“What [do] people think about God and where do we stand? Is the gospel something that is restrictive, legalistic, who turns its followers into joyless men and women who quote, who don't do anything? Is it possible to live a life joyful while following the gospel? Is the gospel good news for us?

We really can't understand the material world, the world of creation unless we see, unless we come to see it, in Christ, as good. That it's a good world and the gospels are called the good news. Everything that God has created is very good. We read it in the book of Wisdom. We hear it from Paul … It has a significant meaning, this good news, for Franciscans. Just reading through Francis's writings, we come across the word good so frequently that it's kind of Franciscan motto is to see the world is good. And I've noticed in the Franciscan Sisters and Brothers who I've met, and Associates, they see the good in others.”

 

For a full transcript, please include episode number and email: fslfpodcast@fslf.org.

 

References:

 

Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR; co-founder of the Community of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal: https://fatherbenedict.com/fr-benedict-groeschel/

 

Father Richard Rohr, OFM; founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation: https://cac.org/about/richard-rohr/

 

Spiritual Direction School in Tucson, AZ: Hesychia: http://desertrenewal.org/hesychia-sd-school/

 

Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota: www.fslf.org. Franciscan Associate relationship: https://www.fslf.org/AssociateRelationship

 

Early Franciscan Sources:

Story of the first live Nativity in Greccio, Italy, 1 Celano 30:84-87: https://www.franciscantradition.org/francis-of-assisi-early-documents/the-saint/the-life-of-saint-francis-by-thomas-of-celano/695-fa-ed-1-page-254

Francis of Assisi, Earlier Rule 23:9-10: https://www.franciscantradition.org/francis-of-assisi-early-documents/the-saint/writings-of-francis/the-earlier-rule/100-fa-ed-1-page-85

Francis of Assisi, Earlier Rule 27:17-18: https://www.franciscantradition.org/francis-of-assisi-early-documents/the-saint/writings-of-francis/the-earlier-rule/91-fa-ed-1-page-76

 

Jesuit (Ignatian) Spirituality: https://www.jesuits.org/spirituality/

 

Jay Leno, Jaywalking “Bill of Rights” (Civics Test video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpqmQJXdqrM