Notes on Chapter 2: Learning More about St Francis and Creation

Eager to loveChapter Two, “A Happy Run Downward: The Inner Authority of Those Who Have Suffered”

Quote from page 20

I believe both Francis and Clare had this kind of inner authority, and it is still part of their essential message for the world. They lost and let go of all fear of suffering, all need for power, prestige, and possession, and all need for their small self to be important, and they came out the other side knowing something essential – who they really were in God and thus who they really were.

Conversation Question

  • How does letting go of power, prestige, and possessions enable you to know who you really are “in Christ”?

Quote from page 21-23

The cross Jesus’ voluntary acceptance of undeserved suffering as an act of total solidarity with all of the pain of the world. Reflection on this mystery of love can change your whole life…. I think the acceptance of that invitation to solidarity with the larger pain of the world is what it means to be “a Christian.’ It takes great inner freedom to be a follower of Jesus. His life is an option, a choice, a call, a vocation, and we are totally free to say yes or no or maybe. You do not have to do this to make God love you. That is already taken care of. You do it to love God back and to love what God loves and how God loves!

Conversation Question

  • How do/can/could you have “solidarity with the larger pain of the world?”

Quote from page 28

Compassion and patience are the absolutely unique characteristics of true spiritual authority, and without any doubt are the way both Francis and Clare led their communities. They led not from above, and not even from below, but mostly from within, by walking with their brothers and sisters, or “smelling like the sheep,’ as Pope Francis puts it.

Conversation Question

  • Everyone is, at times, a spiritual leader. What is your leadership style?