DONATE NOW!

Minute Meditations

RSS

The Crib and the Cross

One cold January night when the world seemed to lie in darkness, I sat down from a long day and turned to C-Span2, BookTV. One of the books that piqued my interest was James H. Cone’s, The Cross and the Lynching Tree. I’d not heard of it before, and as the book was being discussed, something awakened in me, and I saw how vacuous was the Christmas I had participated in a few weeks before. Even though I was centered on the Christ Child and the Franciscan emphasis on the Incarnation, it was a sentimental Baby Jesus who filled my prayer and my imagination—not the baby who grew and matured and gave us the Sermon on the Mount which he then lived out and because of which he was put to death on the hanging tree of the cross. I was looking at the Baby Jesus of countless crèches and not at the babies who were slain by King Herod because of the Baby Jesus. The implications of the connections between Jesus in the crib and Jesus on the cross like someone hanged from a tree, are overshadowed and seem, at times, almost eradicated by the world that our greed, self-interest, and neglect of the poor and the disenfranchised has created. St. Francis saw the connection between the crib and the cross.

—from the book Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis by Murray Bodo, OFM

Read now

The Freedom to Love

 

St. John the Evangelist tells us that the truth will set us free. But what does that mean? St. Francis found the truth that leads to freedom in the truths of the Gospel, and the freedom he found was the freedom to love. God’s truth imparts to us the freedom not only to grasp the truth that is being imparted but also the freedom from what previously had been preventing us from acting on that truth. The Gospel itself will show us not only how we are to discern the truth, but how the truth leads to the action we call love.

—from the book Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis by Murray Bodo, OFM

Read now

What If We Did What Francis Did?

In one way or another the Franciscan saints were all struck by the question that came to St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, whose dramatic conversion was prompted by his meditation on the saints: “What if I should do as St. Francis did?” Another translation of that question might be: What if I were to live as if the Gospel were true? As Carlo Carretto, a modern admirer, has observed: “At least once in our lives we have dreamed of becoming saints.… Stumbling under the weight of the contradictions of our lives, for a fleeting moment, we glimpsed the possibility of building within ourselves a place of simplicity and light.… This is when St. Francis entered our lives in some way.”

—from The Franciscan Saints by Robert Ellsberg

Read now

God Sends Us Where We're Needed

“God is not an obligation or a burden. God is the joy of my life!” —Fr. Mychal Judge

On the bright fall morning of September 11, 2001, firefighters across New York were summoned to a scene of unimaginable horror: Two hijacked airliners had crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. As firefighters rushed into the burning buildings, they were accompanied by their chaplain, Fr. Mychal Judge. Hundreds of them would die that day, among the nearly three thousand fatalities in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Fr. Judge would be among them. There seemed to be special meaning in the fact that Fr. Mychal was listed as the first certified casualty of 9/11. A photograph of his fellow firemen carrying his body from the wreckage to a neighboring church became an icon of that day: an image of loving service and sacrifice, a hopeful answer to messages born of fear and fanaticism.

—from The Franciscan Saints by Robert Ellsberg

Read now