by Sister Jean Schwieters
NEW! Just the sight and sound of that word tugs at several different feeling chords inside me. Excitement at the thought of something other than the “same old, same old” and a sense that the monotony will at last be broken. Perhaps, we tell ourselves, we will be treated to something we’ve never experienced before.
The word, NEW. can also conjure up Hope when we’ve grown weary of never seeing things change; when we have fallen victim to a boring routine or meaningless repetition. Change, we’re convinced, will revive a sense of confidence and belief in possibilities never yet explored.
But the most stimulating reaction to this word is one that stokes the imagination and pushes it wide open to an entrance into unlimited reality - mixed up, rearranged and unfamiliar.
Francis of Assisi was the kind of person who didn’t let the burdens of tradition stop him from pushing the limits. He was willing to be a “new kind of fool”, someone who responded to the inner promptings of the Spirit with little comprehension of where it would bring him. He was the one who literally lived the adage, “You make the path by walking.” He felt an urgency to respond to God’s call NOW. He trusted God would fill in the details only when it was time for them. It was as if God drew the plan and Francis with eyes closed dared to follow that plan, creating something new and different, not deliberately but obediently. Living in a world where religious enclosure was the rule of the day, he claimed the world as his cloister. Clinging to the Gospel as his Rule of Life he dared church leaders to grant permission for a way of life based on a total and radical adherence to Gospel challenges. Being part of a society where the possibilities for wealth were emerging for folks other than those born into wealth, Francis chose to live as a poor person where dependence on God gave him a new found freedom. When life seemed to grow stale and the fire inside him seemed to be dying out he used to exclaim, “Let us begin to serve the Lord God, for up until now we have done little or nothing.” The story of his life tells us that he was tireless in his pursuit of holy newness for he constantly hoped to begin again. For Francis each day offered its own gift; each moment, an opportunity. No two days were the same. Each moment was NEW, blessed with the breath of God.
Written by Sister Jan Kilian, this blog will give an understanding of what it’s like to be Franciscan. Living out the spirit of Saint Francis, we see all God’s creation as brother and sister. We, Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, are committed to building relationships and community, ministering wherever there is greatest need, promoting justice and healing Mother Earth’s wounds. My writings will give a glimpse of the compassion, spirituality, interconnectedness and goodness of living Franciscan.