“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.” (Art. 11. a, Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order)
Let me begin by making a confession, I am not the most friendliest person in the morning. I prefer a quiet car ride, just listening to National Public Radio; and a quiet subway ride into the city. So needless to say, when my car was recently totaled in an accident (not my fault) and I was forced to walk to a local bus stop to begin a longer commute, I was not a happy camper. One recent morning, I am waiting for the bus, when a young fellow came up on a bike, asking about what bus I was waiting for, and when it was arriving. He needed to get to Lynn, and there was something wrong with his bike. I answered his questions, in an annoyed voice, unfortunately. He joined me on the bench, waiting for the bus.
The bus came, and I got on, and the young fellow put his bike on the rack that most MBTA buses have. He came on the bus and discovered he only had a $20.00 bill, and T buses do not make change. So he was asking all us on the bus if we could break a $20 bill. I could not, but I had enough change and small bills to cover his fare. So I gave it him. Again, I must confess, I was not the most joyful giver.
Why did I do it? Maybe in the back of my mind, I hearing the above article of the SFO Rule: “…they are stewards of the goods received for the benefit of God’s children.” I think we all have a tendency to think of grand gestures and actions to fulfill the Rule of life we profess. But sometimes it is the smallest gesture that can sometimes be the greatest challenge.