On September 17, Franciscans celebrated the Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis. That’s what Francis is really all about–uniting himself so closely to the Gospel life that his own body bore the same wounds as Christ on the cross.
He’s not just that guy in the birdbaths. He’s not some enviro-hippie.
Benedict XVI said he wanted to correct the “abuses” and “betrayals” that distort the true character of Saint Francis. And to recall the false view of Saint Francis, Benedict XVI needed just two words: “environmentalist” and “pacifist.” …The truth of Saint Francis – the pope emphasizes – is his “radical choice of Christ,” the conversion awakened in him by the words of the crucified Jesus: ‘Go, rebuild my house.’
It’s not about peace protests. It’s not about ecology. It’s not about blessing our household pets.
Being Franciscan is about conversion. All the rest is incidental.
In the spiritual travail that the young Francis was living through, he perceived these words of vocation and mission as being in the first place an invitation to carry out completely the conversion that had already begun, making his own the concern and plans of Christ for his Church.
So my priority, as a Franciscan, is to ask myself how I can better turn myself toward God, and serve Him in my daily life. That’s what conversion is about–turning TOWARD God.