Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Purify Hearts of Yearning

“It happened one Easter that the brothers at the hermitage of Greccio prepared the table more carefully than they usually did with white linens and glassware….When they begun to eat, this truly poor man (Francis of Assisi) cried out at the door: ‘For the love of the Lord God,’ he said, ‘give alms to this poor sick wanderer.’…The beggar was given a dish, and sitting alone, he put the dish in the ashes. ‘Now I am sitting as a Friar Minor should sit,’ he said.” (The Second Life of St. Francis, Thomas of Celano)

“Trusting in the Father, Christ chose for himself and his mother a poor and humble life, even though he valued created things attentively and lovingly. Let the Secular Franciscans seek a proper spirit of detachment from temporal goods by simplifying their own material needs. Let them be mindful that according to the gospel they are stewards of the goods received for the benefit of God’s children.

Thus, in the spirit of the Beatitudes, and as pilgrims and strangers on their way to the home of the Father, they should strive to purify their hearts from every tendency and yearning for possession and power.” (Art. 11, Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order)

Every quarter of the year, my company holds a morning staff meeting at a local conference center. Before the meeting started, there was a continental breakfast buffet provided with coffee, fruit, large muffins, and other pastries. Since the economy went sour, my company still holds the meetings, but with a buffet made up of mini muffins and pastries. And I am sorry to say that this change bothered me. The large pastries were a perk that I felt we were entitled to; and darn it, I wanted them back.

Walking back to my office after this mornings’ meeting; I think the Holy Spirit was waiting to ambush me, because I suddenly remembered the above story about Francis by Celano. And I asked myself, is this how a Franciscan is supposed to react? There are so many hungry people who would love to get some of those small pastries, and I am complaining about it! Many of us feel entitled to certain things, from a better breakfast buffet, to substantial pay bonuses. And whether big or small things, we all need to constantly “strive to purify” our hearts from this desire, this feeling of entitlement. And be grateful for whatever we receive; and to share what we receive with all we come in contact with.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the small glimpse at your meeting with humbleness and humility. I know I fall prey to those yearnings, and like those you had, mine almost always concern food! Again, thanks for a beautifuly written reminder.