Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Franciscan Prayer - Franciscan Journey

For Franciscans, the journey to God is a journey inward, toward a new relationship with God in which God takes on flesh anew in one’s life. The Good News of Jesus Christ, as the Franciscans understand it, is that we do not ‘go to God’ as if God sat in the starry heavens awaiting our arrival; rather, God has ‘come to us’ in the Incarnation.

‘The eternal God has humbly bent down,’ St. Bonaventure wrote, ‘and lifted the dust of our nature into unity with his own person’ (Sermon II on the Nativity of the Lord). We move toward God because God has first moved toward us: This is the Franciscan path of prayer.

The journey of prayer for Franciscans is the discovery of God at the center of our lives. We pray not to acquire a relationship with God as though acquiring something that did not previously exist. We pray to disclose the image of God in which we are created, the God within us, that is, the one in whom we are created and in whom lies the seed of our identity.

We pray so as to discover what we already have—’the incomparable treasure hidden in the field of the world and of the human heart’ (Clare of Assisi, Third Letter to Agnes of Prague). We pray not to ‘ascend’ to God but to ‘give birth to God’—to allow the image in which we are created to become visible. We pray to bear Christ anew. In prayer, therefore, we discover what we already have—the potential for the fullness of life, and this life is the life of Christ.
Next...Implications of Franciscan Prayer

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