Franciscan Values Week 9: December 2-8
The thought for this week is Conversion. Conversion means to change (something) into a different form, so that it can be used in a different way. This is an awesome definition. Conversion is not just changing from something to something else; but also, that it may be used in a different way. This second part is key: to be used in a different way – to go from Gospel to life and life to Gospel.
Conversion is not a one-time event. Our Rule says, human frailty makes it necessary that this conversion be carried out daily. Each day, we will revert to what we know, to what is comfortable. This is the result of human frailty. Don’t beat yourself up because you have not “arrived.” While we are human, we will fall. But the good news is that God is there to pick us up again, if we so desire.
Since he was a prisoner to Assisi’s old ways, Francis knew no other way of living his life. So immediately upon recovery he tried to recapture his longing for knightly glory by going to Apulia “to increase his wealth and fame.” Before setting out however, he met a poor knight to whom he distributed some of his trappings. That very night he had a dream in which the Lord spoke to him. Consequently, Francis returned from Spoleto to Assisi in order to let his original dream evolve into another.
Stone by stone his own inner fortress was being demolished. He needed to rebuild so he went to where he had come from, the earth. In her caves he experienced a new gestation. The solitary pain taught him to let go of his sin, to let go of his old desires for glory, to let go of his desire to control other people, to let go of his security, to let go of his attempts to save himself. This was a new experience for the young man. It had been so easy to be helpful to others by using his time for them, or by giving alms or by working for them. But now he had to give himself at his center. He had to chase foreign rulers out of his life so that Jesus could be Lord.
[ Workbook for Franciscan Studies/Companions Guide to the Omnibus of Source, Damien Isabell, OFM]
“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me…
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” ~ Psalm 51: 10, 12
What are the small, daily conversions in your life? How are you used in a different way because of them?
Action this week:
Think about where the Lord may be calling you to conversion in your daily life and wanting to use you in a different way. Journal any new awareness’s that you may glean from your reflection.
Prayer for the Week: The Praises of God
You are holy, Lord, the only God who does wonders.
You are strong. You are great. You are most high.
You are all-powerful, You, holy Father,
King of heaven and earth.
You are three and one, Lord God of gods;
You are the good, all supreme good,
Lord God living and true.
You are love, charity; You are wisdom,
You are humility, You are patience,
You are beauty, You are meekness,
You are security, You are quietude,
You are joy and gladness, You are our hope,
You are justice, You are temperance,
You are all our riches at sufficiency.
You are beauty, You are meekness,
You are the protector, You are the guardian and defender,
You are strength, You are refuge, You are our hope,
You are our faith, You are our charity,
You are all our sweetness, You are our eternal life:
Great and wondrous Lord, God almighty, Merciful Savior.
Carolyn D. Townes, OFS
with edits and additions by Judith A. Terrameo, OSF