Notes on Chapter 10: Learning More About St Francis And Creation

Eager to loveChapter Ten, “Entering the World of Another: Francis and the Sultan of Egypt

Quote from page 153

The connection that Francis makes with “the enemy” in his lifetime might end up being his most powerful statement to the world about putting together in inner life with the outer, and all of its social, political, and ethnic implications. He also offers an invitation to – and an example for – the kind of interfaith dialogue that provides a much-needed “crossing of the borders” so we can understand other people at even basic levels. Like few other incidents in his life, Francis’s meeting with the Sultan of Egypt took him far beyond the usual saccharine portrayals of him. Francis’s kind of border crossing is urgently needed in our own time, when many of the exact same Christian-Muslim issues are at play all over again.

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Notes on Chapter 9: Learning More about St Francis and Creation

Eager to loveChapter nine, “The Legacy of Clare: Living the Life at Depth

Quote from page 138-139

Clare’s letters and writings are so consistently upbeat, positive, hopeful, encouraging to others, and lovingly visionary that we can only conclude that she faced her demons down, dove into the negativity that all of us avoid in ourselves and in the world, and came out the other side as clear light or Chiara. Clare allowed herself no place to run or hide, and lived for forty years in one little spot of earth, outside the walls of Assisi, called San Damiano. She was both a master and mistress of letting go of all that was unnecessary or unimportant. She went inside instead of outside, and subsequently discovered the outside  to be a perfect mirror for the grace she had already found within – and vice versa. Clare went deep instead of far, low instead of high – and thus redefined both high and low. Breaking all records, the formal process for her canonization began only two months after she died.

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Notes on Chapter 6: Learning More about St Francis and Creation

Eager to loveChapter Six, “An Alternative Orthodoxy: Paying Attention to Different Things

Quote from page 81-82

One of the earliest accounts of Francis, the “Legend of Perugia,” quotes Francis as telling the first friars   “You only know as much as you do.” His emphasis on action, practice, and lifestyle was foundational and revolutionary for its time and at the heart of Franciscan alternative orthodoxy (“heterodoxy”). For Francis and Clare, Jesus became someone to actually imitate and not just to worship.

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Notes on Chapter 5: Learning More about St Francis and Creation

Eager to loveChapter five, “Contemplation: A Different Way of Knowing

Quote from page 61-62

I believe the very foundation of what we mean by holiness or, in this case, mysticism, is that [Francis and Clare] knew and loved from a different source; they knew by participation in a Larger Knowing that many of us call God. Or, as Paul says, “They knew as fully as they were known” ( 1 Corinthians 13:12)

This kind of shared knowing, which is nothing but full consciousness is what many of us mean by contemplation. True contemplatives surrender some of their own ego boundaries and identity so that God can see through them, with them, and in them – with a larger pair of eyes. It is quite simply a higher level of seeing, and, if you do not like the religious language, you can just call it consciousness, or deep consciousness. But you still have to let go of your small, egoic self to get there (John 12:24). “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

Conversation Question

  • What could you let go of and how could you let go in order for you to experience a closer union with God?

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Notes on Chapter 3: Learning More about St Francis and Creation

Eager to loveChapter THREE, “Living on the Edge of the Inside: Simplicity and Justice”

Quote from page 33-34

Francis and Clare were not so much prophets by what they said as in the radical, system-critiquing way that they lived their lives. They found both their inner and outer freedom by structurally living on the edge of the inside of both church and society. …

Francis and Clare’s agenda for justice was the most foundational and undercutting of all others: a very simple lifestyle outside the system of production and consumption (the real meaning of the vow of poverty), plus a conscious identification with the marginalized of society (the communion of saints pushed to its outer edge). In this position you do not “do acts of peace and justice as much as your life is itself peace and justice. You take your small and sufficient place in the great and grand scheme of God. By “living on the edge of the inside” I mean building on the Tradition (“from the inside”) but doing it from a new and creative stance where you cannot be coopted for purposes of security, possession, or the illusions of power (“on the edge”).

Conversation Question

  • How does Francis and Clare’s life of simplicity and justice connect with your lifestyle?

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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”?

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Syllabus: Learning More About St. Francis and Creation

Adult Formation at Saint James’

Adult formation is learning about the faith and being formed by the triune God through

  1. study of religious sources [Bible, Prayer Book, books, etc.]
  2. contemplative prayer [lectio divina, contemplation, centering prayer, examen, etc.]
  3. meaningful conversation [honest, open, focused, non-judgmental, helpful, respectful, etc.]
  4. and participation in the life of a faith community. [learning groups, Saint James’, The Episcopal Church]

Learning More About St. Francis and Creation

Course Book: Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi ($10 paperback/$10 Kindle)

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Green Team Update: Earthworms & October 16 Meeting

Dear Green Team,

As you know, the Blessing of the Animals was held Oct. 5. Chosen because of its proximity to the Feast Day of St. Francis, this event honors his love of creation. Last Sunday, Ed led a fascinating Adult Ed discussion on the life of Francis, and the Blessing was a great follow-up.

The Green Team had earthworms blessed as part of our SPOTLIGHT on composting (thanks, Dorothy S!).  During the Blessing service, we read St. Bonaventure‘s comments about St. Francis. In describing St. Francis’ care for creation, St. Bonaventure included this:

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Upcoming Green Team Programs

Oct. 4 is the Feast Day of St Francis. There is much to learn about this extraordinary man who lived in the 12th century and inspired others to honor God’s creation.  When Jorge Bergoglio (Pope Francis) was elected Pope by the Catholic Church in 2013, he chose to honor this man by using his name.

In honor of St Francis, please considering participating in one or more of the following:

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Blessing of the Animals | October 7 @ 6pm

blessing of the animals-3

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”

-St. Francis of Assisi

Join us as we celebrate St. Francis’ feast day as we bless the beloved animals in our lives. 

Bring your pets and other animals as we continue the work of St. Francis by showing God’s love to every creature, great and small. There will be a brief service and Fr. Ben and Rev. Lyn will bless each animal.

We’ll also have pizza for the humans!