A Franciscan Benediction

by Robert Scott

Thanksgiving, 2018, is over, and the season of Advent is upon us. In liturgical churches including the Episcopal Church, Advent is more than just looking forward to Christmas; it is an opportunity for reflection, for considering what life is all about, about what is the wheat in our daily lives what is just the chaff. It is a season of looking forward, without losing the perspective gained by looking back. Advent is about steering one’s personal ship by the stars, and not by the wake. In today’s world, that thought tends to get lost in the run-up to the Christmas holiday, with mad purchasing of what we hope is the best gift at the best price. The best gift, after all, is giving of ourselves – and that is, quite literally, priceless.

One of the most venerated Saints in the Christian heritage is St. Francis of Assisi, who lived in Italy eight hundred years ago. His patronage of animals is legendary; his concern for the poor among us inspired Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina to take the name Pope Francis when elected to the papacy in 2013. “A Franciscan Benediction” is attributed to the earliest followers of St. Francis. It is well worth considering this year, and every year. Here it is, in its entirety.

May God bless us with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that we may live from deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of God’s creations
So that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless us with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with just enough foolishness
To believe that we can make a difference in the world,
So that we can do what others claim cannot be done:
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and all our neighbors who are poor.
Amen.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Edgefield Advertiser.

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