"Humans tend to live themselves into new ways of thinking rather than think themselves into new ways of living. " - Richard Rohr, Eager to Love
This may just sound like a saying like any other saying which may or may not impact our lives significantly. But for me, it's literally the story of how I can trace my spiritual journey. While I grew up in the church, I could not fathom why someone would choose to live as a religious person. It seemed strange and irrelevant to practical life. I wanted to understand it, but knew I wouldn't be able to understand it truly by just studying about saints and church doctrine. It's not what I needed at that point in my life. So I was blessed with the opportunity to have genuine spiritual growth experiences, which I accepted with open arms. I have cherished this special time of my life ever since then. From it, I learned the true meaning of humility in the way of St. Francis. Which is as beautiful a spiritual practice if there ever was any. Following this path opened me up to more and more experiences which tested my patience. But working day in and day out to keep this humility alive eventually opens you up to new spiritual truths, if you are open to hearing the gentle voice of the spirit in your life. So while 15 years ago I thought religion was quirky to put it kindly, today I have a much deeper understanding of its meaning, from personal experience and contemplation, to a deeper spiritual understanding and consciousness. I am so grateful for all of the life experiences I've had that have kept me open to new ways of thinking and accepting of deep spiritual truths. I pray I will continue to be blessed with the openness to hearing God's voice in my life.
And what are the experiences that lead to a deeper understanding of Franciscan humility? We can start with any experience that puts us closer to the suffering of society's most marginalized. From that experience we can follow the path of the lowly, putting ourselves in their shoes so as to better understand the experiences they've lived through. This is the path Jesus called us to, this is the path St. Francis followed. And because of this, innumerable people have gotten a chance to experience what it means to live in Christ, the way Jesus taught us.