Thursday, October 4, 2012

St. Francis Part One, Creation, and Benedict at Loreto Too!

The dateline on this post is October 4th, which was when the remarks below were given by the Pope during his pilgrimage to Loreto, to consecrate to the Blessed Mother the upcoming Year of Faith and the synod on the New Evangelization. These are the beginnings of what we trust will be specially blessed, even extraordinary days for the Church, as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

Of course, October 4 is the feast of St. Francis, and this post was supposed to be devoted to him. But to adapt for my purposes Boromir's popular meme:

I rather think he has a point. So far I have not been able to get out much about St. Francis beyond *GASP! What a man!*

There is so much to say. One could start right here: without St. Francis and his way of being-at-home-in-the-world while not belonging to the world, it is hard to imagine that anyone could have written The Lord of the Rings. St. Francis embodies that new Christian vision of the created world, in which things have their own truth and beauty precisely through their reference to One who made them.

LOTR is a "myth" without any gods, not because it is atheist, but because it is everywhere indicative of the transcendent source of reality. It is a "Christian myth" by the very fact that the divine is not to be found in nature or in fate, but rather in the pervasive presence of a transcendent Providence that calls forth personal responsibility and also shows mercy.

St. Francis provokes a lot of thought about a lot of things.

And that means that I intend to devote a post to him. Its just going to take a little more time. But its coming soon.

Meanwhile, to return to Pope Benedict's schedule, the Year of Faith begins October 11. It is intended to be a time for deepening our faith, and growing in awareness of the amazing event that is God's presence in the world through Jesus Christ. Like Mary, we must entrust our freedom to Him. He is not a restriction on our freedom. On the contrary, He alone is adequate for our freedom. He is the source and fulfillment of our freedom. Here are the words of Benedict XVI:

"As we contemplate Mary,
we must ask if we too wish to be open to the Lord,
if we wish to offer him our life as his dwelling place;
or if we are afraid 
the presence of God may somehow
place limits on our freedom,
if we wish to set aside a part of our life
in such a way that it belongs only to us.
Yet it is precisely God who liberates our liberty,
he frees it from being closed in on itself,
from the thirst for power, possessions, and domination;
he opens it up to the dimension which completely fulfils it:
the gift of self, of love,
which in turn becomes service and sharing."