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The Supreme Love of God

Francis demonstrated a type of love that ascends to God and descends to neighbor, a love that expressed itself in the desire for martyrdom and strove for unity with neighbor and creation. Francis, therefore, is not only the model of relationship with God but he models the relationship of the human person to others, to community, and to the created world. The Stigmata signify that Francis attained the supreme love of God through his imitation of and conformity to Christ. Union with Christ Crucified, the center of all reality, enabled Francis to stand with Christ at the center of the world, united to humanity and creation in solidarity, in the spirit of compassionate love—“burning” for love of God and love of neighbor who has been created and redeemed by God. In light of the stigmatized Francis, we can say that the mysticism of the human person means that in the human person, united to Christ, the self-diffusing goodness of the Creator is clearly and perfectly manifested. 

—from the book Crucified Love: Bonaventure's Mysticism of the Crucified Christ by Ilia Delio, OSF

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Our Need for Community

Among the proper lessons of culture is that we remind ourselves of our limits, of our need for community, of our ignorance and the tragic realities of living in such ignorance—lessons, in other words, that help us remember that we are creatures. It is through such recollection, being gathered back to ourselves from the diffuse ambitions that draw us away from our roots, that we are able to begin to heal the damage done to the world and ourselves. “The task of healing,” writes Wendell Berry, “is to respect oneself as a creature, no more and no less.” Humility, by helping to return us to the integrity of our humanity, which involves an acceptance of our particularly human creatureliness, also helps to make our lives more coherent, more integrated. “The more coherent one becomes within oneself as a creature,” writes Berry, “the more fully one enters into the communion of all creatures.” It is by humility then that we join the membership of creation in acceptance that we are a part of the world rather than an individual struggling against it. There is grace and community for us, if only we would accept the gift of our givenness.

—from the book Wendell Berry and the Given Life by Ragan Sutterfield

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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

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Where Is God in Human Suffering?

The book of Job reminds us that good people are vulnerable to suffering. The September 11 terrorist attacks tell us that our lives are contingent and finite; we may go to work one morning and never return. While we live in an age of terrorism, we have emerged from one of the bloodiest centuries of history. Where is God in all of this human suffering? Is God indifferent to human suffering? How about the suffering of the earth, the pillaging and stripping of natural resources? Is this of concern to God? Like the challenges of the new science today, the questions of suffering are broad and not easily addressed. However, looking at the question of suffering from the view of God’s humble love may give us a better insight as to how God relates to a world of suffering. Bonaventure’s profound emphasis on the crucified Christ indicates to us that God is no  stranger to suffering and, indeed, the cross is the hope of new life in God.

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

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Jesus Meant What He Said

Francis took Christ’s teaching seriously. He was too honest to read Scripture selectively and too unsophisticated to spin elaborate no-risk interpretations of it. Instead, he championed the radical notion that Christ meant what he said when he spoke of love and poverty and sacrifice. To presume otherwise is to conclude that Christ was in the strange habit of always saying one thing but meaning something quite different.

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

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We Need a Sabbath Mind

We are reminded of the truth of the creation—that our work, though called and needed, is not necessary. The world will continue without us and came long before us. Our work is to live from and with these gifts so that we can use what time we have, what little time we have, to tend their flourishing rather than exploit them for the gains that will soon fade with the rot. The practice of Sabbath also has the effect of elevating the value of labor and of the people engaged in it. It is not a break so that we might become renewed and refreshed for more work, but is rather a time when we live in the simple reality that we are creatures whose lives are given by God. On the Sabbath, we are able to be apart from our achievements.

—from the book Wendell Berry and the Given Life by Ragan Sutterfield

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The Eucharist Shows Us God's Humility

Francis discovered the humility of God through his encounter with Jesus Christ, especially the Christ on the cross. He described the mystery of the triune God as sublime and humble, ineffable and immanent, a mystery of opposites, which he grasped through his insight to Christ as Son, Word and wisdom of the Father. The most profound expression of God’s humility for Francis was in the Eucharist and he described this mystery of God’s humble presence, this “Body of Christ,” as the principal sacrament of God and the means of relationship to God.

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

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