LITTLE FLOWERS OF SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI, CHAPTER 9

willbulow's picture

HOW ST FRANCIS WOULD TEACH BROTHER LEO WHAT TO ANSWER, AND HOW THE
LATTER COULD NEVER SAY AUGHT BUT THE CONTRARY TO WHAT ST FRANCIS WISHED

Here's another great chapter to read very slowly and meditatively. I read an excellent suggestion for such passages once, in The Other Side of Silence, by Morton T. Kelsey, Paulist Press, 1976. (Sorry, almost all my library is from used book stores.) Father (?) Kelsey suggests we imagine ourselves as each of the characters in the story in turn.

In Brother Francis' position, I found it hard to make such requests of Brother Leo. I would think Brother Francis would be more aware that God's mercy is unconditional. The great Christian doctrines haven't changed between his time and ours, but we have the advantage of centuries of refinements in preaching which have gradually come to emphasize certain points, and God's unconditional mercy is one. I don't have quite as developped an impression of what Brother Leo might have been like as I have of Brother Francis, whose name is almost a household word. But, I'm sure I would have felt much more comfortable saying what he actually said than what Brother Francis requested him to say.

Maybe some of us have been in situations where we found ourselves saying something other than what we were expected to say. Some of the best sermons I have heard were when the preacher decided to set aside his prepared sermon and preach ad lib on a topic he felt called upon to preach instead. When we feel we deserve to be spoken to as Brother Francis requested of Brother Leo, may we hear instead more comforting words, such as Brother Leo received from a Higher Power. And more importantly, may we, when we're in Brother Leo's position, be open to that still small voice which might be directing us to refuse to be judgemental and instead speak in love.

God's Will

Hi Soko,

There are many levels/dimensions of God’s manifest will. This topic is quite extensive, and there could be many possible responses from this august group that would be all very revealing, such as that from tderose. I would like to present only an initial thought.

Looking across the wide spectrum of the study of God’s manifest will, one catches a glimpse of the effects of following His will in pondering the familiar human experience of gazing into the night sky. In such majestic silence, God’s will can be seen in the clarifying laws of physics.

That mankind can get it wrong is an understatement. That a Sagan can look out onto this vast starry scene and sense only a cold impersonal wonder is a testament to the blinding force of the lack of faith. That the dominant historic philosophies outside of the Christian faith led to the expectation of chaos rather than cosmos, and resulted in the stillbirth of science in every culture except one, the Christian one. That an ego the size of a Sagan does not recognize the critical contributions of a multitude of Christian minds upon whose shoulders he stands on in order to be able to understand the cosmos, is also a testimony to the blinding characteristics of the lack of faith.

Lead by the light of the Divine Logos, the same medieval Christian cultural matrix, which gave us the Christian mystics whom we so love to study, would view the same starry sky and expect logic to be a defining characteristic of it all. With confidence born of faith lead by the Logos, we would explore that cosmos with confidence. This same Christian cultural matrix included the likes of Adelard, Thierry, Grossteste, William of Auvergne, Etienne Tempier, Oresme, Buridan and Ockham who, guided by the light of faith, lit the path for Christian minds such as Copernicus, Galileo, Newton and Maxwell.

Reason informed by faith has led to an understanding of God’s will as manifested in the foundations of the laws of physics.

“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”

Pax,
John Ignatius




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