Oct 15, 2010

Are Franciscans Fools?

Franciscan Tau Recently at a Secular Franciscan retreat the speaker asked us to be fools. G.K. Chesterton in his work on St. Francis makes this observation: "... when Francis came forth from his cave of vision, he was wearing the same word 'fool' as a feather in his cap; as a crest or even a crown. He would go on being a fool; he would become more and more of a fool; he would be the court fool of the King of Paradise." Our astute retreat speaker had stumbled on, not only, the key to Francis' freedom, but also energized a group of holy people to take their faith to another level. This response rarely occurs and usually isn't fully appreciated until one takes the time to meditate on their retreat experience. In this case a majority of retreatants could be seen with a particular kind of foolish "grin" on their faces. It was fascinating to watch perfectly respectable Franciscans instantaneously free themselves - of their selfs! With faces frozen in joyful expressions, the remaining last hours of our retreat were spent, possibly like Francis in his whole life, in an effort not to be ourselves, but to use a special kind of "silliness" to be newly formed Franciscans. JMJ. Mick, SFO