On March 13, 2013 the broader non-Catholic world came into the Charism of St. Francis of Assisi when Pope Francis the First began his pontificate and began slowly chipping away at the Papal Imperial Plan to bring out the gospel way as laid out by Rabbi Jesus. For this Jesuit pope, it was a gospel path laid out by mendicants in the 13th century Italy. That’s right, beggars, the homeless (y’know the ones that he has opened the palace up to for sanctuary).
But who were these mendicants? They were the quirky ones, the ones without place in society, the ones called out by Francis Bernadone the son of a wealthy family of Assisi, who went off to be a Knight in the Crusades in the Holy Land, only his party skills and legend did not translate well onto the battlefield and he spent many a day wounded and jailed. In fact it was on the travel back he found himself in a little falling down chapel in San Damiano. Where in his delirium, a voice of the Cosmic Christ spoke to him:
“Francis rebuild my church”
After three rebuilt chapels, and some mighty fine refurbishments if Francis did say so himself, the vision of the Christ within came to him once more to elucidate the calling more: “Not the buildings, the community.”
Think on that. As the world treats Pope Francis like a rock star and are astounded by his ways, he is emulating the Living Christ within, the one that called to Francis and led Francis to strip himself of worldly wealth, and walk out of a world of prestige and falsity. He would move out with those “outside the norms of society, he would go with the lepers, and create an egalitarian role for women; and to top it off, would even take a pilgrimage to the Vatican to get the Pope’s blessing of his age. But that was not the most scandalous action, as Francis realized as a world we are a village, he would go to the Holy Land and spend time in silence, prayer, feasting and dialogue with Saladin leader of the Muslims he once called enemy attempting to broker a peace between the children of the Holy.
Think it through today.
Why does Francis matter?
He lived simplicity.
He understood the inclusivity of community by providing the proper supports for all.
He understood and lived a shared Eco-system.
He showed love and respect for all of creation (very Shamanic, just think of his Feast Day October 4 where animals are blessed around the world).
He did not see labels, but saw brothers and sisters… even deeper he saw the Cosmic Christ within each and every one of us.
He lived for justice.
At the centre of it all, was simply love. Nothing more. Nothing less. The Holy message of the way shower, Brother Jesus of Nazareth.