November 30, 2006

Franciscan Spirituality

Every once in a while I get an email forwarded to me about a friend of a friend who says he wants to be a friar. Usually these don't go anywhere.

The once I received yesterday seemed a little more promising than usual. In the forwarded email the man said he had a "burning desire" for the Franciscan life. To say something like that reveals some intuition of the Franciscan vocation. As St. Bonaventure says in the prologue to the Itinerarium:

Via autem non est nisi per ardentissimum amorem Crucifixi

"Indeed there is no other way but through the burning love of the Crucified." In this simple statement we hear two of the central themes of Franciscan spirituality. First, it always has a focus on the affective; it lodges in our heart, our love, our feelings. Second, these are devoted to Christ crucified, the perfect intersection of love and suffering that is the Cross.

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