800 years ago, give or take a few years St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron of my Spiritual Charism, cast a new order to go beyond Order of Friars Minor (think Robin Hood’s Friar Tuck) and the Poor Clares (think Nun’s with Feminism dashed in, kind of like Sister Act with Whoopi Goldberg if you will)…
Yet. Much better than a but, Y-E-T- as Francis’ mendicants (insult meaning beggar) travelled spreading the gospel message of poverty, charity, love, and justice for all the interconnected of creation many who were married wanted to forsake their vows and join the celibate orders and…
Yup plus an A-N-D- there was some friars and sisters that well, let’s be honest humanity like every species on the planet is designed for procreation. Francis was an astute spiritual guide in that he realized this and blessed those that are called to be together, to make babies, to populate the world for that is the original commission within the Hebrew Scriptures go forth and out of the indwelling love of Spirit populate the world in love.
This is what birthed the Third, Lay or Secular Order. It was a work by one of these Franciscan’s 19 years into my journey of trying to remember paradise, discover the Spirit within, that working in a bookstore I stumbled upon John Michael Talbot’s (1998) The Life Lessons of St. Francis: How to bring Simplicity and Spirituality into your Daily Life. For someone who had journeyed through many Eastern, Celtic, Pagan, Western and Alien spiritual paths finding myself back in the Christian Church as a Sunday School teacher, this little volume showed me how my beliefs around love and inclusion worked together with belief and living out of God’s love, from the divine spark, the star dust that we are created from.
So dear reader, you are probably wondering what this 800 year history lesson has to do with anything? Especially the book you have picked up to read on different centering values to create a fuller you?
Simple, it is part of the formation of the writer of this book, it has influenced my understanding and shaped any bias within the stories to be found within. Also, when in the mid-2000’s I took the Munay-Ki Shamanic Rites, I was blessed to be labelled a Wisdom Keeper, one that holds the truths of the ancient stories for today.
In the Franciscan story there are many truths for today, but the one to remember as we move through these pages is perhaps the simplest lesson of all:
Within Francsicanism there is no historical Reformation (where the Protestant Church split from the Roman Catholic Church) rather it is a moment by moment reformation of one’s own heart, soul, spirit and community that one is called into.
So thank you for stepping into this new journey, it is a collection of values for all ages. To prepare for this spend time cleansing your energy, exhaling out the negative, and opening your heart to seeing things in a new light. There may be terms that are unfamiliar or may not resonate with you, this is due to my family’s Judeo-Christian Heritage, simply as you are reading replace them with terms that resonate with you.
I encourage you to find the best time of day to do the soul work with these values, take along a prepared kit:
Monk’s Bag of Tricks
- A simple bag, back pack or attache case
- Place within pens, pencils, crayons, pencil crayons, pastels,
- A fidget toy (perhaps a koosh, some Lego, a slinky, mystery box figures, something to play with to clear your mind when you get stumped).
- A journal
- A book of Wisdom teachings that you can read a snippet of each day.
Armed with this bag in your daily life, either identify a place in your community or your home that you can use as a retreat space to commune deeper within yourself.
So are you ready? This will not be your traditional spiritual formation journey, I mean the book is called Left Field, which for any sports metaphor you know it is usually the unusual team members that do not fit anywhere else.
That is us, those that are seeking the personal ongoing moment by moment reformation of St. Francis of Assisi, not only for ourselves but for our community and out world. So the question is now in your hands, close the book and walk away…
Or turn the page, step into left field with gusto and accept the challenge to create a new you.