Earlier this week, we celebrated the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. What came to my mind was a story in the Little Flowers of St. Francis, in which Brother Masseo asks Francis, "Why does the world come after you?" Francis responded that people came after him because they saw how the power of God's love could work such miracles through such a poor, ignorant, sinful man like himself. It was the example of his life, this witness to God's grace working in a very human person that drew people to Francis.
What draws people to St. Francis today? For some, it might be the stories about Francis, others may have read the Francis comic book, and others may have seen a movie about him. Most, however, have been drawn to Francis because of the example given by the lives of Friars, Poor Clares, Third Order Regular Brothers and Sisters, and, hopefully, those Secular Franciscans they have come in contact with. This is the responsibility that all of us who call ourselves Franciscan share, to keep the spirit of Francis alive and fresh in our world today. We do this by reading and reflecting on his words, on his life, then seeing how we can apply his example to our own struggle to live the Gospel life.
We have a spiritual legacy to be proud of and to celebrate. If that legacy is to last through the 21st Century and beyond, we cannot be complacent. We need to allow Francis to continue challenge us to go farther, strive higher, and go deeper in our life with God.