Reflection on the Pilgrimage and the Future of this Blog
I'm back home in Cincinnati and sitting in my office trying to catch up with mail, emails, and other Vocation Office things that need to be done. I spent the last night of the trip in our Curia Generale in Rome (pictured at left and right) and then made my way home via a nine hour flight on Wednesday. By the time I got to bed that night I had been up for twenty-three hours, but I was certainly happy and content with a wonderful experience over the past five weeks.
What did the trip mean? For me it meant three things: an opportunity, a challenge, and a consolation. The opportunity was the chance to teach Moral Theology in an intercultural, multinational setting at the Franciscan International Study Centre in Canterbury, England. As I mentioned in the earlier posts in this series, that was a wonderful experience and a chance to appreciate Franciscanism in a much deeper way. The challenge was twofold: the challenge of traveling alone in two foreign countries (which proved much, much easier than I had expected), and the challenge of teaching Moral Theology in a multicultural setting. Of all of the branches of theology, Moral Theology is probably the most influenced by culture and social conditions. Teaching at the Centre proved rewarding in that the richness of the cultural mix proved a true asset to the overall course experience.
The consolation was the opportunity to be in Assisi for a few days and visit the birthplace of the Franciscan Order and the city and tombs of Saints Francis and Clare. I found myself inspired and deeply moved by realizing that this is where it all began and that this is the setting in which the two great founders of the movement discovered and expressed their faith in Jesus. The question that that raises, of course, is how do I find and express that same faith in the setting(s) I find myself in? While Assisi and the Umbrian area are truly beautiful and pleasant to look at, they were still the everyday context of these saints' lives just as the places in which I have lived and now live are the context of my life. And many of these have been and are beautiful and pleasant to look at even though very different from central Italy. This is where the Lord has put me and the period of history in which he chose that I should live and I need to work out my faith response here as truly as did Saints Francis and Clare in Assisi.
That task of living Franciscan life in our real life situations will be the future of the conversation on this Blog. And here is where all of you come into the process. What aspects of Franciscanism and Franciscan life would you like for us to talk about? The comment feature is open to anyone to ask a question or to suggest a topic. Please avail yourself of this opportunity and maybe we can even get a good dialogue going among ourselves. The focus is to help any and all who are interested in Franciscanism to grow in that specific spirituality--especially those of you who are thinking about possibly joining us Friars and Sisters.
So let us know what you are thinking and what your questions and concerns may be. I have enjoyed sharing the pilgrimage with you. Now it is time to move on.