As I begin writing this book on the Christian Mystics and the Misfits of community, every week I hope to send out a reflection. I hope you'll take this journey with me.
I drop off my youngest at Day Care. It's a mercifully unharrowing experience. She doesn't cry and neither do I. Not yet anyway.
I am writing a book now. A book with a grownup contract and everything. In a sense, I am now a working mother.
My workspace (the library) doesn't open for an hour. What do I do to not waste these precious hours I'm paying for?
I am desperate. So, I read my "Common Prayer for Ordinary Radicals" App.
The lectionary calls us to sing a version of the Magnificat today, which is Mary's song about God's grace to her in regarding her "lowliness" and naming her "blessed." Next, Psalm 113:4-7emphasizes God's blessing on the weak. For the Lord is "high about all nations" and "stoops to behold the heavens and the earth."
In this Psalm, all of us, not just those who are like young Mary, are the weak. Those of us who see ourselves as powerful will be made weak and humble in this upside down kingdom.
In that same thread, the prayer today says, "Free us from the ghettoes of poverty and the ghettoes of wealth that we might meet on the level ground at the foot of the cross." What a shocking revelation to so many of us who point outward at those in poverty without looking inward at our own spiritual poverty!
And what an appropriate mindset to begin writing about St. Francis today, the mystic who took a vow of poverty but refused to write much about it. During his life, Francis rarely engaged in theological questions. His life is largely revealed to us in the writings of others.
In his biography of St. Francis called "The Enthusiast," Jon Sweeney says that "for Francis, direct experience of God was never an activity of the intellect--the mind--but rather a receptivity to human experience and an openness of the human heart."
Francis believed that Jesus would be revealed in his life by his actions, not his words.
That's a humbling prospect for this writer, who is trying to communicate truth with my lowly words. I hope that it's possible to do this with an "openness of heart."