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.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Penance / Conversion

by Sister Jean Schwieters

We Franciscans say we belong to an Order of Penance. Doesn’t that make you want to back away? Simply put, that means we strive for continuous conversion in our lives. Now if the word penance didn’t scare you, what about conversion? Not just conversion, but continuous conversion. That can make just about anyone shutter. Conversion, however, isn’t all that unfamiliar. We hear about it almost everyday. In fact, during the last presidential campaign conversion was the topic…only we called it CHANGE.

Conversion is about change. But why continuous change? Its because we are humans on a journey. We know from experience that no two days are exactly alike. What went smoothly one day creates a real problem the next day. We are creatures of habit and we too easily get into ruts. We don’t stop long enough to fix the problem when it first begins to surface and over time it becomes intolerable. We tend to avoid what we don’t like to admit is a flaw in our own character. Our reaction is to blame others for whatever doesn’t go well in a relationship. Or we grin and bear it because we don’t want to face what is our responsibility in the bigger picture.

The question is, “Will we ever get it just right?” And the answer is “NO!” So why try? Why keep attempting to become what we know we will never achieve? If you are like me, my idea of what is just right keeps changing, so how can I ever get to that point. And that’s the point. As long as we keep listening, keep responding, keep opening ourselves to making things better for myself and others we stay with what’s important. And that’s persevering LOVE.

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