Notes on Chapter 4: Learning More about St Francis and Creation

Eager to loveChapter four, “Home Base: Nature and the Road”

Quote from page 47

Creation itself – not ritual or spaces constructed by human hands – was Francis’s primary cathedral, which then drove him back into the needs of the city, very similar to Jesus’s own movement between desert solitude and small-town healing ministry. The Gospel transforms us by putting us in touch with that which is much more constant and satisfying, literally the “ground of our being,” and has much more “reality” to it, rather than theological concepts or the mere ritualization of reality. Daily cosmic events in the sky and or the earth are the Reality above our heads and beneath our feet every minute of our lives: a continuous sacrament.

Conversation Question

  • How might the cathedral of God’s Creation be an environment in which you can be transformed by the Gospel?

Quote from page 52

Francis knew and taught that “God did not lose energy by plunging into form,” as Cynthia Bourgeault so forcefully puts it, and that true transcendence is to be found in immanence and materiality itself. What a surprise. But most of us were Platonists, where body and soul are enemies, much more than Christian incarnationalists, where body and soul were friends.

Conversation Question

  • What does incarnation mean to you?

Quote from page 40

“Transcend and include” is the mature principle here: we let the church hold us in place and then move out from there! Franciscans at their best attempted to live inside the universal mystery of the “church” and from there we went out to serve the world. Most Christians got it backward by living in the “world” and occasionally “going to church.” I believe there is a creative tension between solid ground and the larger horizons we can see.

Conversation Question

  • How would you explain, from your personal experience, “transcend and include”?