And after the Lord gave me some brothers, no one showed me what I was supposed to do, but the Most Hight himself revealed to me that I should live according to the form of the holy Gospel.
The first part of the sentence is the most often quoted, to express the Franciscan insight that our spiritual brothers and sisters are a gift from God. The final part is cited frequently as well, the great insight of the mendicant, evangelical life. But what speaks to me is the middle part, "no one showed me what I was supposed to do."
I guess it's because I've experienced a crisis of spiritual guidance at many stages of my own life, and because I perceive such a crisis in the world around me. I feel it when I see old people struggling to use our new-fangled subway cards and turnstiles here in Boston. I see it every time I go out and see young people, floating through the world in identities and thought-worlds created for them by greedy advertisers.
I even see a crisis of spiritual guidance in Church. We have such beautiful mysteries in Christianity: the Cross and Resurrection, the cleansing death of Baptism, the spiritual food of the Eucharist. And yet sometimes I feel like people in Church look upon the Cross and Resurrection, for instance, as discrete events that are outside of them, like something on the news. Where is the spiritual guidance to help everyone realize that, because of the humanity of Christ, the mystery of Cross and Resurrection, Baptism and Eucharist, are first of all about them and their experience in all its glorious and unglamorous particularity?