Unit 2

Build With Living Stones highlights

 

Unit 2 highlight: Witnesses of the Incarnation

From the Sources

Francis decided to celebrate the memory of the birth of the Child Jesus with the greatest solemnity. He had a manger prepared, hay carried in and an ox and an ass led to the spot…the people arrive, the forest amplifies with their cries, and that venerable night is rendered brilliant…A solemn Mass is celebrated over the manger, with Francis, a levite of Christ, chanting the holy Gospel. Then he preaches to the people standing around him about the birth of the poor King, whom, whenever he means to call him, he called in his tender love, the Babe from Bethlehem (Based on LMj 10:7).

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The Christian need not leave the world to find God. He or she need only to use his or her sanctified senses, as St. Bonaventure reminds us about Francis: “…the entire fabric of the universe came to the service of the sanctified senses of the holy man” (LMj 5:12).

Francis’s great poem “The Canticle of Brother Sun” is a hymn that expresses a fully realized secular spirituality

…No theologian spoke more lovingly and eloquently about the Incarnation than John Duns Scotus, the faithful 14th century follower of St. Francis…For Scotus, creation is not an afterthought in God’s mind, nor is the Incarnation a result of sin. Rather, God created the world, and particularly human persons, patterned after Christ Jesus, “the firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15)…Just as “God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son,” so we are called to love the world and be sent into it.

This is why St. Francis discovered and celebrated the presence of God in the world. For him, the Incarnation reveals God as “Deus Minor,” the humble one whom Francis met in littleness: in a child who was born in a stable, in the midst of the homeless and the vulnerable, in the aged and the infirm, in the plight of anyone harmed by a harsh economy that values the rich over the poor…The Incarnation, then, is the basis of the humanization of the person and of society.

…Clare of Assisi also witnessed to this mystery of the Incarnation. She pursued and deepened the mystical thought of St. Francis in a letter to Agnes of Prague: “Love him totally who gave Himself totally for your love. His beauty the sun and moon admire, and of His gifts there is no limit in abundance, preciousness and magnitude. I am speaking of Him who is Son of the Most High, whom the virgin brought to birth and remained a virgin after his birth. Cling to His most sweet Mother who carried a Son whom the heavens could not contain….” (3 Lag 15-19).

This is why St. Francis discovered and celebrated the presence of God in the world. For him, the Incarnation reveals God as “Deus Minor,” the humble one whom Francis met in littleness: in a child who was born in a stable, in the midst of the homeless and the vulnerable, in the aged and the infirm, in the plight of anyone harmed by a harsh economy that values the rich over the poor…The Incarnation, then, is the basis of the humanization of the person and of society.

…Clare of Assisi also witnessed to this mystery of the Incarnation. She pursued and deepened the mystical thought of St. Francis in a letter to Agnes of Prague: “Love him totally who gave Himself totally for your love. His beauty the sun and moon admire, and of His gifts there is no limit in abundance, preciousness and magnitude. I am speaking of Him who is Son of the Most High, whom the virgin brought to birth and remained a virgin after his birth. Cling to His most sweet Mother who carried a Son whom the heavens could not contain….” (3 Lag 15-19).

Further Reading

In addition to the early Franciscan documents

Gurley, OSF, Mary C. “Franciscans Doing Theology.” St. Bonaventure, N.Y.: Franciscan Institute Publications, 1999.

 Highlights from Build With Living Stones used with permission c The Franciscan Institute, which provides coordination of various regional programs as well as preparatory workshops for teachers and facilitators.

Order the complete Build With Living Stones handbook from Franciscan Institute Publications. E-mail: franinst@sbu.edu

More resources:

Franciscans

Franciscan Education

Prayer

Glossary


September 2, 2014

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