In Colorado Springs last week, I was surrounded by brilliant, kind Franciscan men and women from around the country. We were gathered for the very cool sounding “Franciscan Forum X” (as in “10”) at a retreat center. There, we heard from three brilliant thinkers who collaborated on a newly published book called Response to God’ s Love: Franciscan Moral Vision. It was a rich conference and one which I will be pondering for a long time. I’ll be putting together a new blog over at the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition website which features reflections on the 11 Characteristics of the Franciscan Moral Vision with contributions from some of the attendees.
Something which stood out to me above everything else that weekend is the deep abiding humility of so many Franciscan men and women I’ve met over the years. Let me give you some examples: I have known a Franciscan woman who went from Hospital CEO to studious graduate student in a matter of weeks, who studied hard, enjoyed time with fellow students and never had any sense of entitlement based on her past prestige. I’ve known Franciscans who went from University administration to serving at a homeless shelter, treating PhDs and homeless men with the same respect and dignity. I’ve known Franciscans who gave great homilies then quietly swept and cleaned the buildings after everyone went home. There’s something very inspiring about that groundedness. I hope I can live that as well-whether I am stapling and taping things for the DRE at my parish or standing before a crowd of enthused listeners who come to hear me give a talk, I want to do so with integrity and humility, the way I’ve seen vowed Franciscans do it again and again.
What about you? Can you think of someone who showed this kind of humility even when their life transitioned from one role to another, less exalted role?