Traveling Light through Lent

Written by Barb Spies, OFS, Director of Mission Services and Pastoral Care

St. Francis has had such an impact on the spirituality and the practices of so many people since his movement began over 800 years ago. Our Felician Sisters are among the numerous followers of Francis, putting into practice his ideas. Francis offered a model for penitential living that has provided us with guidance.

One author has taken a look at how Francis directs us to be doers, not just hearers of the Word. Bruce G. Epperly wrote in Walking with Francis of Assisi from Privilege to Activism, “Francis let go of economic security and personal privilege to follow the way of Jesus. He also learned to travel light without possessions to embrace the life-giving simplicity that joined him with the common people and enabled him to be spiritually open to every encounter. His spiritual experiences could have inspired him to seek a settled life as a spiritual guide or administrator of a monastery or a place of importance at the pope’s side. Instead, Francis chose an itinerant spirituality in which he let go of theological and institutional baggage to be faithful to God’s moment by moment vision.” Most of us are not living the itinerant life of St. Francis, but we are out in the world doing things. Whether it is our work or activities in our retirement, we are in motion too.

Lent calls us to pray, to fast, and to give. We know Francis spent much time in prayer and fasting. His gifts to God’s people came through service to the poor and the ill. We still have a couple more weeks of our Lenten journey to see how we can continue in our practices for this season. Epperly says, “Traveling light today inspires us to put persons ahead of programs and policies and relationships ahead of doctrinal certainty.” He goes on to note that “Openness to the world awakens us to constant reformation, believing that divine inspiration is found beyond as well as within our religious institutions. Living faith is growing faith. Even Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and so must we and our institutions as we trust that God will guide us through the twenty-first century spiritual wilderness, showing us what we need to change, jettison, and affirm and reminding us that through all life’s changes, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our savior (Romans 8:38-39).

As we continue on the Lenten path, we ask God to guide us to travel light. May God help us to let go of baggage and be faithful to God’s vision. May we learn to put people first, especially those in need. We ask God to transform us to fulfill God’s will.

Blessed Angela: “Let your love be like Christ's love, revealing itself not only in feelings but in deeds.”

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