St. Francis of Assisi, Church of St. Mary’s Halstock (Photo by Sarah Smith)
“…Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day…
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens You have made them, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which You give Your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water…precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom You brighten the night…”
Excerpt from Canticle of the Sun by St. Francis of Assisi
St. Francis of Assisi, that most humble of men, was born into comfort. The son of a well-to-do merchant, Francis might have led a life of ease. His father feared Francis would squander his life on self-indulgence. Instead, Francis founded an Order of monks sworn to abject poverty. He died without worldly goods, bearing the stigmata of Christ, and radiant with joy.
But we are not all born to be friars. How then are we to find our way in the world? How can we distinguish God’s call on our lives from personal ambition or – worse yet – restlessness because the going has gotten rough or the task assigned us has become stale? What do we do when confronted by that inevitable fork in the road?
There is no formula for holiness…or happiness, for that matter. We are bound to wrestle with God as Jacob did. The limitations of this earthly world dictate as much, since we are meant for another. Between our present location and that ultimate destination lies the road we travel, the life we choose – pitfalls, failures, triumphs, and all. Continue reading