Where Lion and Lamb Lie Down

Francis looked intently, and he looked with reverence and with love. He is moved. And it is that movement of the heart that leads to action. At the very least, it leads to praise; or if what is seen is broken or hurt, it leads to the need to help the other. And that need to help for Francis is not minimal. He pushes the envelope, for example, vis--vis the lepers. He doesnt simply give them a coin or food. He goes and lives among them and works mercy with them. It is a mutual exchange. They both experience mercy. That mutual giving and receiving is, I believe, the bedrock of Franciscan peacemaking. By overcoming shame or fear; or whatever it is that is holding you back from reaching out to the poor and broken ones, you enter a startling world of sweetness of soul that is not just self-serving but that accomplishes a profound reconciliation of opposites that makes it possible to experience a new, unexpected bond with the other. And you want to stay there, not necessarily in that physical place but in that spiritual and psychological space where the lion and the lamb lie down together. Nor is the bond something static. It only endures if you continue to overcome new barriers, cross new and fearsome barriers so that you yourself become the place of reconciliation wherever you go. That kind of portable peacemaker was who St. Francis was.  

from Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis by Murray Bodo



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