Use Words if You Have To
(c) 2007 Chris Falson
Saint Francis in Prayer, by El Greco 1580 C/O Joslyn Art Museum
Saint Francis of Assisi is one of my heroes. He didn’t just talk about his convictions…..he lived them.
Though the son of a wealthy merchant and nobleman the young Francis forfeited all of his inheritance…..wealth, estates, prestige….to pursue what he sensed to be his calling.
It is one thing to talk about love and sacrifice….or about laying one’s life down for another…..or to stand on a pulpit and ‘preach’ a gospel that welcomes ‘all men’….it is another thing entirely to risk all….life, friendships, reputation….for the sake of another.
I am tired of hearing ‘messages’, spoken with such conviction, when the jumbled words are still only a theory….yet to be tested by the orator. Whether it be politicians, preachers, entertainers or business people…..don’t tell me what you think…..tell me what you know.
It’s when you know that you know, that you know……then…..maybe…..you have the right to speak about it. That’s why stories or testimonies (true ones) are so powerful. Often it is the people with no desire to ‘speak’ that actually have something worth sharing.
I am as guilty as the next person….I think so therefor I am! But what I do or how I live my life is really who I am.
Who are you?
Or….Who ARE you?
Mother Teresa is another I admire. If she could have spoken into my life….I am sure my heart would have broken many times over…..and if I could have walked by her side maybe I could have learned a little about walking in love.
It is the life of love that intrigues me.
Right now I have thoughts…..some I have tested…..I am learning……and though I am a writer I hesitate to write about it.
For love is not a thought or a feeling but a deed, an undertaking, a conduct, an influence, a behavior…. sometimes love is hard work that goes unrewarded.
Saint Francis: “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
Or my paraphrase…..love at all times, use words if you have to.
This is how I interpret the gospel….it is about giving life through love….”so god loved the whole world he gave……..” or “come ALL who are weary and burdened and I will give rest to your weary souls”.
It is a gospel of inclusion. A gospel for All……the last time I looked up the word All it still meant All…..’not just for some, but for everyone’. It’s meant to be for everybody…. not just nice people…. or our kind of people!
Saint Francis said it better “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.”
“Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance”.
“True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice.”
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible”.
“No one is to be called an enemy, all are your benefactors, and no one does you harm. You have no enemy except yourselves.”
“It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”
“If God can work through me, he can work through anyone.”
“While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”