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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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Apr 6, 2021

Join Franciscan Associate Rick Dietz as he traces his spiritual journey of cobbling together his own path with God until his discovery of Franciscan Spirituality. This encounter brought him into a community of brothers and sisters, a deepened relationship with God who is good and loving, and a greater freedom to serve those in need.

 

Currently Director of the Franciscan Life Center which is based out of Little Falls, Minnesota, Rick notes “that at the core of the Trinity is a good and loving relationship between the Trinity which over spills into all of creation....We are really brothers and sisters to all that is in creation, and should be respectful of and defenders of all that is in creation.”

 

“I started looking into Franciscan spirituality and the understanding of the Trinity and how this divine relationship spills over into creation. ...Franciscans have this understanding that relationships are not just prized, but are somehow reflective of the divine. There's a primacy to relationship more so than of knowledge. Relationship and spirituality go together much more than knowledge and spirituality.”

 

References:

 

Masculine Spirituality: Rick recommends this classic: Wildmen, Warriors, and Kings: Masculine Spirituality and the Bible by Patrick Arnold (https://www.amazon.com/Wildmen-Warriors-Kings-Masculine-Spirituality/dp/0824512529).

 

Hesychia School of Spiritual Direction: http://desertrenewal.org/hesychia-sd-school/.

 

Saint Francis of Assisi’s Praises to be said at all Hours, verse 11

“All powerful, most holy, most high, supreme God: all good, supreme good, totally good, You Who alone are good, may we give you all praise, all glory, all thanks, all honor, all blessing, and all good.  So be it!  So be it!  Amen.”

See: https://franciscantradition.org/francis-of-assisi-early-documents/the-saint/writings-of- francis/the-undated-writings/the-praises-to-be-said-at-all-the-hours/178-fa-ed-1-page-162.

 

God as Good and Loving:

Rick submitted this passage for your reflection: Saint “Bonaventure was apparently impressed by the notion of ultimate divine goodness.  In the New Testament, he writes, God reveals his name as Good (Lk 18:19 ‘No one is good but God alone’); whereas in the Old Testament, God revealed his name as Being (Exod 3:14 ‘I am who Am’).  Since God reveals Godself as Good in the New Testament, the Trinity must be essentially grounded in the good…Charity (love) is the supreme content of the good, the highest form of the good.  Thus, if God is good then God is also charity or love.  Where there is fullness of divinity there is fullness of goodness, and where there is fullness of goodness there is fullness of charity (love).”

-Ilia Delio OSF, Simply Bonaventure, pp. 41-42, Hyde Park NY, New City Press, 2001.

(https://www.newcitypress.com/simply-bonaventure-2nd-edition.html)

 

All of creation are sisters and brothers, sharing the same source:

“From a reflection on the primary source of all things,
filled with even more abundant piety,
he would call creatures, no matter how small,
by the name of "brother" or "sister,"
because he knew they shared with him the same beginning.”

-St. Bonaventure, Major Legend 8:5; see: https://www.franciscantradition.org/francis-of-assisi-early-documents/the-founder/the-legends-and-sermons-about-saint-francis-by-bonaventure-of-bagnoregio/the-major-legend-of-saint-francis/the-life-of-blessed-francis/1679-fa-ed-2-page-590.

 

God as Triune Communion; call to deep relationships of love:

“For Franciscans, the moral order transcends the individual self and points toward communion and relationship with others, but ultimately with God. Understanding God as Triune Communion, participation in divine life is the true human goal. This goal is ultimately a deep relationship of love based upon the nature of God as source of reality. Relationship is the moral goal because the divine is essentially relational, because we are created in the image of God, and because we are invited to enter freely into that relationship.”

     -Mary Beth Ingham, CSJ, “Moral Goodness and Beauty,” in The Franciscan Moral Vision:  

      Responding to Gods Love, ed. Thomas A. Nairn. (Franciscan Institute Publications, 2013), p. 118.

 

Styles of Leadership transformed; Pat Smith reflects:

“Franciscans lead from a position of littleness. The Incarnation was central to Francis’ theology; it formed and shaped his leadership style. He led from the stance of humility, like the Word of God who bent low to assume our humanity. Franciscan leadership is not something to be sought but rather is to be humbly lived wherever we happen to find ourselves. Francis found God and led others to God in the context of simply being a little human creature.”

-Pat Smith OSF, “Franciscan Leadership: Mutual Love Generating a Future,” Keynote  

 Presentation of the Franciscan Federation Annual Conference, July 10-13, 2009.

 

Being examples and mirrors in community:

“For the Lord himself has placed us as a model, as an example and mirror not only for others, but also for our sisters which the Lord has called to our way of life as well, that they in turn might be a mirror and example to those living in the world. Since the Lord has called us to such great things that those who are a mirror and example to others may be reflected in us, we are greatly bound to bless and praise God and to be strengthened more and more to do good in the Lord.”

            -Saint Clare of Assisi, Testament 19-22

See: https://www.franciscantradition.org/clare-of-assisi-early-documents/the-testament-clare-of-assisi/237-ca-ed-1-page-61.

 

Saint Clare’s method of contemplative prayer and how bring it into the world: In her Second Letter to Agnes of Prague, Clare includes four steps, inviting us to embrace the poor Christ, following him as we Gaze, Consider, Contemplate, and Imitate.

-2LAg 18-20; see the fuller text: https://www.franciscantradition.org/clare-of-assisi-early-documents/the-second-letter-to-agnes-of-prague/225-ca-ed-1-page-49.

 

Saint Francis saw all as gift, Rick calls him a “re-gifter;” he often gave away cloaks or tunics that had been given to him.

-See: Saint Bonaventure, Major Legend 8:5: See text: https://www.franciscantradition.org/francis-of-assisi-early-documents/the-founder/the-legends-and-sermons-about-saint-francis-by-bonaventure-of-bagnoregio/the-major-legend-of-saint-francis/the-life-of-blessed-francis/1679-fa-ed-2-page-590.

 

Pope Francis, encyclicals and documents draw from Saint Francis’ experience of others and all of creation being our brothers and sisters.

--Laudato Si: you can purchase a print copy, or here is an electronic version: http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html.

--The Franciscan Character of ‘Laudato Si’, by Dan Horan: https://www.americamagazine.org/issue/franciscan-character-laudato-si.

--Fratelli Tutti: you can purchase a print copy, or here is an electronic version: http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20201003_enciclica-fratelli-tutti.html.

--Franciscan Study Guide for Fratelli Tutti: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/fratelli-tutti-study-guide.

--Document on Human Fraternity for world peace and living together is a brief consideration of some of these values; signed 2-4-19 by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Yayeb: http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/travels/2019/outside/documents/papa-francesco_20190204_documento-fratellanza-umana.html.