Monday, October 5, 2009

Let The Children Come to Me (The Adults Aren't )

The Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
World Communion Sunday
The Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi
(October 4)

The Word:
Genesis 2:18-24 (Adam's rib becomes Eve, man's 'suitable partner')
Psalm 128:1-6 (Your wife is like a fruitful vine...your children like olive plants)
Hebrews 2:9-11 (The one who consecrates and those who are consecrated have the same origin)
Mark 10:2-16 ("Whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it")

There are several threads of thought running through my head, any of which would make good starting places for reflection. I'll likely get to them before the month gets away from me. The one that seems to be sticking at the moment is the one that just connected two dots.

If there ever was a soul who continuously appeared to accept the will of God as might a child, it was Francis of Assisi (1182-1226). Perhaps the one person who is seen as a holy man by Christians and non-Christians alike; yet Francis also grasped a couple of spiritual concepts that require much reinforcement and explanation for folks like me just to wrap arms around, let alone understand.

As children we had many 'WOW!' moments. Many things were larger than life to us then. Then we experienced the challenges; the stuff we had to wade through with difficulty. Stuff from the loss of a beloved pet to trying to understand math and proper sentence structure - things that elude some but not others. And suddenly, those 'WOW' moments became fewer and further between.

As adults we try in so many complicated ways to find those moments - or should I say, create them. The more we attempt to create this, the harder it gets. Nothing seems to fit quite right.

Maybe, just maybe, it's our perception. We dream big. That's good in the world of dreams, but is a tall order translating into everyday life.

Like everyone else, Francis had moments where perception translated in an unusual way. When he was urged to "repair" the Church, his first thought was to rebuild La Portiuncula, a small church in ruins. Little did he realize what rebuilding God had in mind.

Francis ultimately founded the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscan priests), yet wept near the end of his life because the rule of poverty he had himself embraced was too harsh for those who would follow him.

In his zeal to deepen his relationship with Jesus, he saw God's hand in everything, and even referred to death as a 'sister.'

He "lived simply, so that others could simply live."

I don't know if this quote is attributed to Francis, but it certainly describes him. If we were to live more in the spirit of that quote, our perception might just snap into clearer focus. Then we would fully appreciate and live in the hope in which God has called us.

And all I can say when I consider that is...WOW.

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