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2018 Spiritual Discernment

The Path of Love

through the life and teaching of Saint Francis of Assisi 


January: Remain in Love

The central practice in Franciscan mysticism is that we must remain in love, which is why it is a commandment as such (John 15:9), in fact, the commandment of Jesus. Only when we are eager to love can we see love and goodness in the world around us. We must ourselves remain in peace, and then we will see and find peace over there. Remain in beauty, and we will honor beauty everywhere. This concept of remaining or abiding (John 15:4-5) moves all religion out of any esoteric realms of doctrinal outer space where it has for too long been lost. There is no secret moral command for knowing or pleasing God, or what some call “salvation”, beyond becoming a loving person in mind, heart, body, and soul yourself. Then you will see what you need to see.

(Richard Rohr)

February: Rebuilding the World


Christ tells Francis to rebuild the Church.

The first stop of any tikkun olam (world repair) that can take place is the repair that has to happen in our own hearts, souls, and minds. Jesus, who is in the business of “restoring all things as spoken by all the prophets,” begins first with repairing and restoring us.


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.



March: Non-Attachment


Francis abandons all worldly goods.

Today, most of us try to find personal and individual freedom even as we remain inside of structural boxes and an entire system of consumption that we are then unable or unwilling to critique. Our mortgages, luxuries, and chosen lifestyles control our whole future. Whoever is paying our bills, and giving us security and status, determines what we can and cannot say, or even what we can or cannot think. You cannot remove the plank that you are standing on. Self-serving institutions that give us our security, status, or identity are almost always considered “too big to fail” and are invariably beyond any honest critique for the vast majority of people. And thus corruption grows. The way of radical Christianity is simply to stay outside of such systems to begin with, so they cannot control your breadth of thinking, feeling, loving, and living out universal justice.

 (R. Rohr)


April: Loving the Other


Francis kisses a leper on the road.

Confronting fear.


May: Spiritual Friendship


Francis mourned by Clare.

A new paradigm.


June: Going Beyond Hierarchy


The Pope confirms Francis’ 1st Rule.

Equality in Divine Being. Authority of conscience.


July: Interfaith Awareness


Francis appears before the Sultan.

Entering the world of another. Finding common ground.


August: Integral Ecology


Francis preaches to the birds.

Nature as revelation.


September: Ecstasy