Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Anne Marie Lom reflects on the Third Order of St. Francis Rule Charism of Contemplation.
My understanding of contemplation is the “constant murmuring of God’s life active within me and propelling me to see God’s presence in every moment, in each person, and in all of creation”. That persistent “bubbling up” of God’s love/grace in my awareness motivates me to share the Charism of Gospel Living with others who seek and share that same peace, joy, and world vision. Contemplation reminds me again and again that I am unique, treasured, and loved totally and unconditionally by God, the very essence and source of Love.
Because I am loved, I have confidence to try new adventures, to study more deeply, and to share more transparently. Letting go of my ego- the fear that I will not be acceptable enough or intelligent enough- frees me to abandon the opinions and comments of others and impels me to strike out on uncharted spiritual territory. Uncharted yet age-old in the communication that God has had for millennia with people who search and seek God’s Spirit.
In St. Francis’ Praises of God, he exclaims: “You are love, You are wisdom. You are humility, You are endurance. You are rest, You are peace. You are joy and gladness. You are justice and moderation. You are all our riches, and you suffice for us. You are beauty. You are gentleness. You are our protector, You are our guardian and defender. You are courage. You are our haven and our hope. You are our faith, our great consolation”. It seems that all action, all light, all energy of St. Francis commences and overflows from contemplation, that unique relationship each person has with God. St. Bonaventure uses the “overflowing fountain” as an image for God’s love spilling over into ordinary, daily life as that love “bubbles up” from the experience of contemplation.
The Franciscan Charism certainly wouldn’t have survived the test of time without it having Divine origin! Living a life based and inspired by the Gospel is so counter-cultural that it has to be energized by God alone. No other origin would galvanize such hope, such promise, such sacrifice and result in such peace and joy save the origin of this Divine relationship: contemplation.
Let us continue to daily nurture this relationship of love which causes sparks of holiness and joy!