A Thought for Lent
This morning as I listened to the First Reading being proclaimed at our Chapel Mass, I couldn't help but think of Queen Esther's situation and St. Francis' notion of sine proprio. His notion of what???
Interestingly enough, the Rule that St. Francis wrote for the Friars Minor does not mention poverty as one of the vows. It lists chastity and obedience and sine proprio, a Latin phrase that means without appropriating anything as one's own. So often we associate St. Francis with living a radical version of poverty, but poverty wasn't his goal. Poverty was a means, a tool to a greater goal--total dependence on God. That is what his life was all about, letting go of every possession and depending totally on God. And what are possessions but appropriations, things we claim as our own and hang on to as though we need them.
What has this got to do with Queen Esther from today's scriptural reading? The reading relates Esther's prayer of dependence on God as she prepares to go before the king to plead for her people's safety. She is not thinking of her own well-being or safety, but that of her people. She is dis-possessed of selfish concern and ready to sacrifice her life if need be so that her people might be saved from slaughter. She did not possess even her own life; she was sine proprio.
What am I (are you) hanging onto that stands in the way of my total dependence on God? Physical possessions? Reputation? Fame? Position? Sin?