Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Happy St. Francis Day!


As I mentioned on September 17th the commemoration of his receiving the Stigmata, St. Francis has a special place in my spirituality, being a Third Order Franciscan myself.


Today is his Feast Day and Sr. Clare Elisabetta and I took our annual renewal of promises as professed members of the Order. Br. Justin Simon, a novice, was also present (FYI - that is Cindy Grimwade and Tristan Williams) at the 12:15 Mass, as well as others.

Who is he? From the page on St. Francis on the Franciscan Order of the Divine Compassion website. http://www.fodc.net/StFranLife.html

Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226.
Few Saints are more immediately recognizable than St. Francis of Assisi. He is recognized, loved, and claimed by Christians of all denominations, and even embraced by non-Christians. Francis seized the imaginations of his contemporaries, as well as that of modern men, by his unique simplicity, a pure grace of spirit, his overwhelming love for God, and his mode of life in which he actively sought to live according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, given the extent with which he's loved, few Saints are less understood than Francis is. To the modern mind, Francis is a caricature. He is the simple, loveable, man who preached to birds, tamed wolves, talked to fish, and was so gentle that wild hare leapt into his arms.
But, he's so much more than that.
Of Francis' early life, one of his biographers, Thomas of Celano, in the First Life of St. Francis, would later write, "almost up to his twenty-fifth year, he squandered and wasted his time…He was…very rich, not greedy but prodigal, not a hoarder of money, but a squanderer of possessions, a cautious businessman but an unreliable steward. On the other hand, he was a kind person, easy and friendly…Overwhelmed by a host of evil companions, proud and high-minded, he walked about the streets of Babylon until the Lord looked down from heaven and for His own name's sake…and for His praise bridled Francis lest he should perish. The hand of the Lord came onto Francis and a change was worked by the right hand of God, that through Francis an assurance might be granted to sinners that they had been restored to grace and that Francis might become an example to all of conversion to God."
Conversion, or rather living in a state of constantly being converted, is what Francis' life was about. Drawn by the love of God, drawn away from worldly ambitions for glory, Francis instead found his treasure in the total surrender of self to God.
For those of us who follow Jesus in the footsteps of St. Francis, the example of conversion to God, of living each day in a deeper state of conversion, to die to self a little more each day that we might live entirely for God, this is the important thing to see in Francis. In this, our Seraphic Father Francis is our model, our guide, our mentor.

May St. Francis pray for us.