The Lenten season is quickly approaching and thoughts of what to “give up” start coming to mind. Co-workers talk about candy, pastry, drinks, and unhealthy foods; although these are not bad things to give up they beg the question, how is my Franciscan life going to be better because of these choices? After reviewing some of my St. Francis and St. Clare resources, I found that their journeys (from 800 years ago) included penance, conversion, self-sacrifice, service, embracing the cross, humility, charity, mission and new life. St. Francis and St. Clare lived the Gospel in love and set a path for how we should be living our lives too. Instead of “giving things up” consider how to live in love each day. In Matthew’s Gospel change the word Blessed to Loved and read John’s Gospel through the lens of love.
The following scriptures give us wonderful examples to follow:
The Beatitudes - Matthew 5:3-12
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Washing of the Disciples’ Feet - John 13:3-5 and 12-17
So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ fee and dry them with the towel around his waist.
So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that I have done for you, you should also do. Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.”