We speak with our lives
A story is told that Francis of Assisi once invited a young monk to join him on a trip to preach in a nearby town. The monk was honored to even be asked and readily accepted the invitation. All day the two monks walked through the streets and alleys of the town and even ventured into the suburbs. They rubbed shoulders with hundreds of people. At the end of the day the two headed back home. The young monk was puzzled that Francis had not even once addressed a crowd, nor had he talked to anyone about the gospel. Greatly disappointed, his young companion finally said to Francis, “I thought we were going into town to preach.”
Francis responded, “My son, we have preached. We were preaching while we were walking. Many saw us and our behavior was closely watched. It is of no use to walk anywhere to preach unless we preach everywhere as we walk!”
I first became aware of the Prayer of Saint Francis when I sang it at the wedding of two classmates when I was in seminary. His prayer is:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Mater,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
It is this devotion to speaking with his life that makes Saint Francis a shining star in may faith journey. In fact, I now have a bracelet that has a small part of his prayer on in. The bracelet is a Mobius Strip (for those of you who don’t remember that from geometry, a Mobius strip is the shape you get if you take a strip of paper, twist it, then tape the two ends together. As you follow the edge with your finger you find that instead of having an inside and an outside like a normal loop of paper, it goes on, one infinite side), a constant reminder that our prayers and our faith journey are without end.
This Advent, you will have to change in order to be the person God wants you to be. Are you ready to make the changes?