St. Francis transformed his initial concept of noble knighthood by embracing the poor Christ, the Suffering King, and putting himself in his service. This foundation upon radical poverty allowed St. Francis a transience and an efficacy to carry out fully the will of God unencumbered by the weight and distraction of “stuff”.
It is still not too late to make a New Year’s resolution. Surrounded as we are by distraction and noise, which seem deliberately bent to rob us of reflection, let us consider St. Bonaventure’s words on his founder’s radical poverty in the Rule of 1221.
“Poverty, which was all they had to meet their expenses, made them ready to undertake any task while giving them strength for any kind of toil and leaving them free to travel without difficulty. They possessed nothing that belonged to this world. They loved nothing, and so they feared to lose nothing. They were free from care, with no anxiety to disturb them or worry to distract them. Their hearts were at peace as they lived from day to day, looking forward to the morrow without a thought as to where they would find shelter for the night.”
Biographer Arnaldo Fortini adds, “And indeed these knights-errant were marked by peace and happiness and loving kindness, as they roamed from place to place for the love of their Lady, their ‘lover of a far-away land.'”
pax et bonum
peace and the good.