This week I was reminded of what I am expected to be as a Secular Franciscan. Someone asked a church-related question and I was expected to be the one with the answer.
“I don’t have any corner on this market,” I protested.
“You’re the one with the cross (meaning the Tau). We depend on you for this. You’re the closest thing to Grammy that we have,” her daughter-in-law replied.
Sometimes we might think that being a Secular Franciscan is all for ourselves. But it’s not–in the same way as being a Catholic is not all for ourselves either. “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words” was the guidance Francis gave the early Friars.
We wear our Tau as a sign of our faith. But wearing that sign means that we are expected to LIVE our faith, to KNOW our faith and to SHARE our faith. We’re not meant to grow just for our own personal benefit, but to reach out to others as well. It’s part of being “salt for the earth and light for the world,” as we are all called to be.
Francis certainly took time for solitude, but he was no hermit. He lived in community, but he was no monk. Instead, he reached out to those around him. That is what we, too, are called to do–even when we are “out of uniform.” Those who know who we are expect it of us.