Posts Tagged ‘OEF’


Justice. Love. Humility.

Three parts of a Franciscan Community of Reconciliation. Why does it matter?

Well let’s share a story that brought me to typing this now.

Mnay moons ago when I was still a student at SAIT, I went back to church with my Nan and Aunty Bert. In that process I inquired about prayer, and was given an answer that peaked more of my curiousity. As I had just recently started working at a bookstore, I stumbled across Talbot’s Life Lesson’s of St. Francis, one of the early works in my reading to shape my understanding of the gospel (this with the Great Love Commandments that brought me back into church began shaping, unconsciously, my ministry).

Over time I would move from a less structured spiritual formation to inquiry and postulancy with the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans, when I would serve in the Anglican church, I would transition to the Third Order, Society of St. Francis, to complete my postulancy, and two years of novitiate and fellowship with the RC Secular Franciscan Order (as my Dad would call us the shit disturbers of the church. A quick history lesson, third/secular orders exist as St. Francis realized not everyone was gifted with celibacy, and as such needed to go make babies, as he blessed Brother Leo to go forward and have blessed family.

When a new blessing would emerge, as my Nan needed extra help, I would rejoin her in church, and the great the barriers of church labels would halt my official membership in the orders, and would move forward in the work of living my rule for continuing to make my own part of the world a better place (which is debatable to some if I did or not).

There was times the orders would touch base about re-joining, but I did not have the right church pedigree in those moments, and as such nothing moved forward.

That has changed, with an ecumenical community out of the new monasticism paradigm, my life vows (24 years on from the first opening of Talbot’s book) have been accepted.

No matter how impossible things may seem, if you are called, never give up for there is a path for it to be light.

Pax et bonum (peace and goodwill)

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…Jesus son of Mary, honoured in this world and in the next, and of those granted nearness to God.

-Sura 3:46

                The Crusades were a horrific time within the Empire phase of Christianity. It was about anti-Semitism (travelling to and from the Holy Land was a great excuse for the warriors to cull the Jewish in the lands) and to let blood run high in the Holy Land battling the “infidel”.

During one such crusade time a disgraced Crusader received a call to something different. Francis was a party animal, one of those wealthy ne’er do wells many towns and communities know of. He thought to increase his lot by bravery in the Crusades…suffice to say he was not a good Knight, and wound up injured in a burnt out church where Jesus spoke to him through the San Damiano cross calling him to rebuild his church. After stealing supplies from his father, and rebuilding 3 fine parishes he was once again revisited and redirected to actual community based around hope and loved. Even beaten and imprisoned by his own parents, just emboldened this man to cast of (literally) the clothes of wealth and walk naked into the world.

The Franciscan movement is what began. Part of the life lived that receives little mention outside of the international circles (as most just know Francis for his love of animals, not activism) so he has been reduced to the garden statue or fountain. Yet it was in the midst of crusade times this rabble rouser and friends upset the apple cart, and not just in the challenge for equity and justice for the poor. Nope, he also crossed treasonous lines by going back onto the Crusader path to meet with Sultan.

Why?

To pray together.

To talk.

To share bread.

To be community.

Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was ever inclined to God and obedient to Him, and he was not of those who associate gods with God.

-Sura 3:68

Francis and his community understood an eternal truth. God is the source of all that is, all that exists within and through and lived out of the Holy Mystery. The source-Love- was not to be confused with the manifestations. That is…the wells are not the river.

We want the labels to divide. Those in power hope that we allow the labels to divide. Yet, there is another way. A way where we acknowledge the One River, and sample one another’s well water in a safe place of community, sharing prayers, sharing discourse, sharing bread. Being like Francis and the Sultan. That piece of light in the darkness.

And he will teach them the Book, and The Wisdom, and The Torah and the Gospel.

-Sura 3: 49

This is why my family hosts an inter-faith Questing through the Qur’an; and a Brunch & Bible (where we travel the roads of the Gospel of Luke & Acts of the Apostles) on alternating weeks. To share the foundation stories. To see where we connect. To hear where we differ.

To know  we are still united in our diversity.

                Much like Francis’ call to bring the gifts of peace, hope, faith, joy and love to Sultan. But also to receive these same gifts from Sultan.

For, what are we in humanity,

if not neighbours….

francis

The Gospel story, the faith story has not ended. It is not sealed. Each of us in our journeys, our lives continue to write in the book of life about how we live within, through and out of the love that is the Holy Mystery. So what is the new chapter you are starting in this moment?