St Clare of Assisi

August 11th, is the feast of St. Clare of Assisi. Clare was born July 16, 1194 as Chiara Offreduccio the eldest daughter of Favorino Scifi, Count of Sasso-Rosso and his wife Ortolana.  There are many legends of how Clare and Francis met, but it is clear that Clare would have know about Francis and his movement of brothers seeking to embrace Holy Poverty.

The Beginning.  Having refused to marry at 15, she was moved by the dynamic preaching of Francis. At 18, she escaped one night from her father’s home, was met on the road by friars carrying torches, and in the poor little chapel called the Portiuncula received a rough woolen habit, exchanged her jeweled belt for a common rope with knots in it, and sacrificed the long tresses to
Francis’ scissors. He placed her in a Benedictine convent which her father and uncles immediately stormed in rage. She clung to the altar of the church, threw aside her veil to show her cropped hair and remained adamant. Continue reading

God and Epiphany

in my fathers houseSeveral years ago I was researching for my master’s thesis on early Franciscan Missions. One of the really interesting aspects of the early Franciscan missions was the one to China. The friars arrived in China in 1292 and John of Montecorvino was the first bishop of Beijing. But all that is besides the point. In the course of my research I ran across The Travels of Marco Polo in which he describes his travels in the far east. I was scanning the text to see if he had any mention of contact with the friars or the Christian monasteries that dotted the silk road in those days. Continue reading

Evangelii Gadium

EVANGELII_GAUDIUM3.inddJust some snippets which I wanted to share….

Para 22: “God’s word is unpredictable in its power. The Gospel speaks of a seed which, once sown, grows by itself, even as the farmer sleeps (Mk 4:26-29). The Church has to accept this unruly freedom of the word, which accomplishes what it wills in ways that surpass our calculations and ways of thinking.”

Para 24: “An evangelizing community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, he has loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast. Such a community has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy. Let us try a little harder to take the first step and to become involved. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. The Lord gets involved and he involves his own, as he kneels to wash their feet. He tells his disciples: “You will be blessed if you do this” (Jn 13:17). An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others.”

David and Goliath – a second look

I suspect most folks know and can tell some version of the story of David and Goliath (see 1 Samuel 17). It is a narrative that lends itself to story telling for people of all ages.  It is also a story that is so familiar that when we attempt to study the biblical passage we are likely to engage in isogesis, placing our interpretation upon the text, rather than exegesis, letting the story inform us. I regularly lead a bible study with emphasis on “study.”  I think the line I most often use is some variation of “Is that what the text says?”

With that as background, have a look at the ever interesting Malcolm Gladwell’s talk on David and Goliath