Our Presence in the World
This word cloud is a gathering together of some of the elements, the building blocks, of that which we refer to as “Presence in the World”. We are meant to be truly and deliberately present in our living. We should be fully aware that we are not here by accident, that our lives have meaning.As Christians we are called to be the “leaven in the dough, the salt that gives savour “. The Franciscan way of doing this contains many of the elements which St. Francis took from his understanding of the gospels. He studied the words and actions of Jesus and tried to emulate them. For Francis all of creation was holy and part of our experience of God. The same should be true for each of us.
If we take the word cloud we can approach it in so many ways. The words link and offer different facets to help our understanding of our calling to be present in the world now. If we start from Creation we become aware of all that has been created, and can celebrate the wonder of it. Once we do this we don’t want it to be destroyed – we want to protect it, so we move towards seeking peace, justice and nonviolence. We become empathetic towards others, towards the natural world and towards all other living beings. Another word for this might be love.
Living as we do, in constant contact with others, we are called to show this love to our families and to friends around us. For Francis everyone and everything was a brother or a sister (like brother sun and sister moon) so for him all of life was fraternal. As secular Franciscans we are trying to follow his example. Of course we meet in formal groups called fraternities but we are also fraternally involved in our parishes, our workplaces, our friendships, our interest groups and the wider world around us. But one of the areas in which we are most commonly called to show our capacity for loving is in our families. Here we are continually called on to learn more about our god given capacity to give and receive love. Doing both things to the best of our ability makes us truly present in the world.
Just before Francis died he told those around him that he had done what was his to do and now they must do what was theirs to do. For each of us being present as God needs us to be in the world will be slightly different and will be different for us at different times of our lives as our circumstances change. The thing that remains the same is the challenge of the calling to infuse our love into whatever we do for the well-being of all Creation.