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Contemplate the Mystery of God

We cannot see God with our physical eyes nor can we find God through the logic of reason. The more we try to see God with our physical eyes or find God through logical analysis, the more we will fail. We will become increasingly frustrated and God will become more distant to us. To see the extraordinary ordinariness of God is to see with a different set of eyes, the eyes of the heart and to know God by a different logic, the logic of love. What Francis tells us in his Admonition is that we must contemplate the mystery of God. Contemplation takes place when we learn to see the mystery of God bent over in love in the fragile human flesh of Jesus Christ. The way to contemplate the mystery of Gods humble love, according to Francis, is in the Eucharist.

from the book The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective  by Ilia Delio, OSF

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Love for the Sake of the Other

Whenever we speak about love, we are speaking about relationship. Bonaventure wrote that love is the gravity of the soul; it is what pulls us toward God. We could also say that love is the glue of the universe; it is what constantly holds everything together even when things fall apart. It is simply impossible to think of love sitting on an island all alone. Love likes company. Love means going out to the other for the sake of the other.

—from the book The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective  by Ilia Delio, OSF

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Love Gives Itself Away

The simplest way to describe God’s poverty and humility is in terms of love. Love gives itself away—this is God’s poverty. Love turns toward the other so it can give itself to the other—this is God’s humility. In the Incarnation, God turns toward us through the Son/Word and gives himself to us as love.… The God whom Francis discovered is a God who shows himself to us in poor and humble fragile human flesh. This is a God who loves us so much as to be reckless in love; a God who throws it all away out of love and never tires of loving.

—from the book The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective  by Ilia Delio, OSF

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Stop Trying to Figure God Out

Francis of Assisi grasped something of the mystery of God and, in a particular way, the mystery of God’s humility. Although he was simple and not well educated, he had an insight into God that I can only say was profound. Francis did not study theology. He did not try to figure out what God is through reason. He simply spent long hours in prayer, often in caves, mountains or places of solitude, places where he could distance himself from the busy everyday world. Thomas of Celano, the first biographer of Francis, wrote: “Where the knowledge of teachers is outside, the passion of the lover entered.” What Thomas perceived is that love, not knowledge, allowed Francis to enter into the great mystery we call “God.” As he entered into this mystery he discovered two principle features of God—the overflowing goodness of God and the humility of God. That is why a Franciscan approach to God’s humility must begin with Francis. For he was so impressed by God’s humility that he spent his entire life striving to live humbly in imitation of God.

—from the book The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective  by Ilia Delio, OSF

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Silence Is a Language God Can Speak

Too often our prayers are projections of our own needs and desires and we give God little room to enter into the conversation. Talking all the time to God without ever listening is like a phone conversation with constant static; it is deafening to God. Silence is a language God can speak without being constantly interrupted because God is a mystery of incomprehensible love, and love speaks for itself. If we could really be attentive to the mystery of God in our lives we would realize that God is both beyond our thoughts and imaginations (although these can bring us closer to God) and very near to us. God is a mystery of silence and intimacy. God is incomprehensible and ineffable, far beyond our wildest imaginations, yet nearer to each of us than we are to ourselves.

—from the book The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective  by Ilia Delio, OSF

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Our Physical Surroundings Are Holy

We who tend to think of nature as nothing more than a usable commodity can learn a great deal from Francis’s relationship with the environment. He teaches us the liberating truth that our physical surroundings are holy because they aren’t purely physical. Instead, they’re permeated through and through with the Spirit and beauty of God. In a mysterious way that the mind can’t fathom but the heart knows full well, we don’t just dwell in God’s world. In dwelling in God’s world, we also abide in God himself.

—from the book Perfect Joy: 30 Days with Francis of Assisi  by Kerry Walters

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Live in the Mystery of God's Love

Did you ever have one of those days where the whole idea of God was just too much to think about? As if trying to “get a handle” on God was like trying to kiss the moon? If the mystics are right (and usually they are because they see things much differently than we do) then you were probably closer that day to God than any other day in your life. How is this possible, you ask? How can God be close to you (or you to God) when God seems so far away or not at all? Even better, how can God be close to you when you are totally confused? This is my answer to you: God is a mystery of humble love. It is a mystery that you cannot reason or try to figure out. You must simply live in the mystery. This is my hope for you—that you may live in the mystery of God’s humble love.

—from the book The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective  by Ilia Delio, OSF

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Using Our Creativity for Others

A Christian celebration of humanity consists in lovingly midwifing our fellow humans into full being. One of our God-given endowments is creativity, the ability to cooperate with God in the inauguration of the kingdom. We’re called to use this creativity in nurturing our brothers and sisters as full members of that kingdom, and we do this by going out of our way to help them recognize and affirm themselves as images of God. In concrete terms, this means performing the acts of charity listed in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew: clothing the naked, tending the sick, visiting the imprisoned, giving food and drink to the hungry and thirsty. Celebrating the sheer existence of others often demands that we do the dirty work of easing the material burdens that inhibit them from arriving at a conscious appreciation of their own holiness.

—from the book Perfect Joy: 30 Days with Francis of Assisi  by Kerry Walters

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The Baggage We Carry

When we go into the inner desert, we appreciate for the first time just how much unnecessary baggage we carry around. We see and gasp at the incredible artificiality of our old way of life, the flimsiness of our old values, the duplicity of our old self. The process is harrowing because it rips away everything by which we’ve defined ourselves. But this desert dying, this going under, is a necessary condition for the kind of “ineffable joy” and “wonderful light” that suffused Francis at the end of his time in the pit.

—from the book Perfect Joy: 30 Days with Francis of Assisi  by Kerry Walters

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