On Good Friday, let us meditate before the Cross with Saint Bonaventure.
This blog begins our Lent 2023 reflections on the Franciscan Intellectual-Spiritual Tradition. Early Franciscans considered themselves part of the great penitential movement of their times: men and women who were trying to hear the Gospel afresh and turning their hearts more deeply to the coming of God’s Kingdom.
St. John Capistran (John of Capistrano, (1386–1456,) is a good example of what a strong faith, active involvement in society’s most pressing problems, and skilled communication can achieve. The memory of this Franciscan friar, canonized in 1690, recognized as “Apostle of Europe” (1956) and patron of military chaplains (1984), is celebrated every year on October 23. Yet, some aspects of his multifaceted activity appear less attractive, if not controversial nowadays.
A new documentary on Franciscan Sister Thea Bowman, “Going Home Like a Shooting Star: Thea Bowman’s Journey to Sainthood,” shines a light on her life and work as an advocate for racial justice and intercultural understanding.
It is easy for us to romanticize this early experience of Francis—his first embrace of a leper. We speak of it often as emblematic of dramatic change in a person seeking to know Christ, to live by the Gospel’s injunction. Given the lack of experience of most modern people with the experience of Hansen’s disease (leprosy), it becomes hard to truly imagine the kind of courage and self-control that serving such sufferers entails.