Saturday, 15 June 2013
The Poverty of Saint Francis of Assisi
When I look at this image. I notice something, I notice the presence of God. I see the Saint looking at God. God is in his gaze, his eyes, his vision. In him, God is tangible.
" If we had possessions we should need arms for their defence. They are the source of quarrels and lawsuits, and usually a great obstacle to the the love of God and neighbour. That is why we have no desire for temporal goods."
Saint Francis of Assisi
"Though many of the saints embraced actual poverty, they did more than simply spurn worldly goods. They lived out a different centre of value - as Jesus put it laying up treasure where neither moth nor rust may consume. Having accomplished this, they found that other things - wealth and property certainly, but also false ambitions, anxieties and petty resentments - tended to fall away of their own weight.
Francis turned worldly values upside down. Where others saw security, he saw captivity; what for others represented success, was for him a source of strife " an obstacle to the love of God and ones neighbour". Moreover for Francis, letting go did not end in wealth and property. He also let go of his reputation and status in society. his fastidiousness, his anger, his pride, his ambition, - everything, - in short that hindered his ability to love. In the end he was not left barren.
Rather the space in his heart that was previously occupied with all these things, was now filled with a greater joy than any of these worldly things could provide."
Excerpt from "The Saint's Guide to Happiness"