Reflections on the Wisdom from St. Francis
by Fr. Bobby
Praised by You, my Lord, through all Your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun, Who is day and through whom You give us light, and he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor, and bears a likeness of You, most High One! (The Canticle of the Creatures)
It is very important to know that when St. Francis wrote these beautiful words, he was nearly blind. In fact, a disease that he had picked up while in the Holy Land so affected his eyes that any kind of light was painful to him. Yet, he could still praise God for the gift of light, and realize that it was a most wonderful part of God's creation. As we have been reflecting on this Lent, Francis of Assisi was able to live in joy and peace because he was able to accept that he was a creature of God, part of the universe, not its center. Accepting that we are not the center of the universe might seem to be a bad thing, but as St. Francis shows it, it is actually liberating. He was able to enjoy all of God's creation precisely because he recognized himself as a part of it. He was able to become a brother to others because he didn’t need to be their savior — that was Jesus' job. But if we are to let go like Francis, we must like him trust in the goodness of God our creator, and the power of Jesus, who healed the man born blind. So Lent once more is a time to open ourselves to God and ask His grace. Lord, we believe, help our lack of trust!
Fr. Robert Barbato, OFM Cap, is the Vicar and Student Director at St. Conrad Friary–Capuchin House of Studies in Berkeley.
As Capuchin Franciscans we follow St. Francis of Assisi as brothers, living the Gospel in prayer, fraternity and ministry, witnessing simply to Jesus Christ and the Church as a joyful presence of hope and salvation to all, especially to those most in need.
PRAYER - Rooted in our Capuchin contemplative tradition and expressed in many forms
As followers of St. Francis, desiring to be conformed more perfectly to the crucified and risen Christ
- We affirm that our prayer is rooted in our Capuchin contemplative tradition and is expressed in many forms.
- We seek to witness both personally and communally to affective prayer.
- We seek to become a living prayer and joyful presence to draw others to Christ.
FRATERNITY - Rooted in mutual love, humble reverence and respect for one another and for all people
We Capuchins are friars minor, rooted in mutual love, humble reverence and respect for one another and for all people.
- Individually and communally, we commit ourselves to be in greater solidarity with the poor.
- We manifest a compassionate caring attitude toward one another as brothers.
- We affirm, animate, support and encourage the building of community.
MINORITY - Following the meek and humble Christ and sharing our joy as lesser brothers by walking with people of every social condition
As brothers of St. Francis, we faithfully follow the meek and humble Christ.
- We cultivate a disposition of humility and respect of the dignity of others.
- We share our joy as lesser brothers by walking with people of every social condition and by being instruments of reconciliation.
- We commit ourselves to the evaluation of our lifestyle, both individually and communally.