Thursday, November 27, 2014

From Franciscan charismatic revival to animating peace, the OFS way

We are fully three dimensional beings. I know this better than I know myself. I may have the attention of a rabbit, but that is only because I know the possibilities and potential in life are endless. We are one with the universe, which recreates itself every day. It's fascinating to think about.

I learned the divine spirit that's present in relationships through my experiences at CYFM, 10-15 years ago. Fr. Jim who Leah Kozak introduced me to the other day reminded me that my experience there was part of the charismatic revival of the Capuchins.  I knew there was something distinct about the unique way I was introduced to my faith as a teen, and I have cherished these moments inside ever since then. I've consciously and unconsciously let the Franciscan charism become part of my DNA, my way of operating in the world and interacting with others.

I've learned in life the sciences of nutrition, of food justice, of public health and social justice. I am aware of the interactions and connections between these disciplines, and that all are necessary in the elimination of health disparities. Necessary, but not sufficient. There are other sciences which I have not yet mastered but which I'm sure are equally as important - such as the disciplines of nonviolent communication and peacemaking...and the discipline of spirituality. The last one should be the simplest...yet if simple was easy more people would live that way. The discipline of spirituality may be one of the hardest things humans were ever asked to do, but we must remember nothing worthwhile ever came easily.

I have always ever pursued something new because it made sense in the context of where I had been and where I wanted to go at the time. I am at the point where I feel the limitations in my contributions to effectively contribute to the disciplines I've been exposed to so far...partially because I already know much about them and how they work, partially because I know there is so much else out there that is important that I haven't yet mastered, but largely also because I know much that these disciplines seek to accomplish won't be fulfilled until more people infuse spirituality into their work and pursue faith-rooted organizing. 

It therefore brought me peace when I came across Carolyn Townes OFS's blog, "Animate Peace," yesterday, and I saw all various ways she is working to infuse Catholic Social Teaching and Franciscan spirituality in with JPIC (Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation) work.  I can only wonder how profound it would be to introduce social workers and public health professionals to the concept of Franciscan JPIC work. The more we can move people from a place of spirituality, the more effective our work will be, and we will transform hearts in the process. I also feel it's my obligation to bring these spiritual efforts into the secular world of work, because I have spent just as much if not more of my life nurturing my secular professional work as I have nurturing my spiritual life. The two cannot live separately any longer. They must become one, as we are one with the universe. 

May I learn to simplify so much so that I can be one who animates peace.

Pace e bene.

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