Father Charles Smiech, OFM is teaching an Introduction to Franciscan Spirituality course to Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Postulants, Novices and Sisters at our Motherhouse in Manitowoc, WI. Postulant Leslie Hammond Gonia shares a reflection on the class.
During the course Franciscan Spirituality offered at Holy Family Convent, Fr. Charles Smiech has given us a wealth of knowledge. Fr. Smiech has given us a picture of St. Francis of Assisi that was as honest and true as Francis himself. We were given a clear view of the joys and ideals as well as the depression and struggle that Francis experienced.
Silence and solitude are essential to the Franciscan journey. Francis went often to the caves of Mount Subasio to seek solitude. In the solitude, Francis went on an interior journey seeking to empty himself of his interior clutter in order to be free in spirit. Francis was seeking to discover his interior relationship with Christ. We are called to go deep within and discover an interior relationship with Christ.
Our inward journey is not always an attractive one to make because we are plagued with our own personal phantoms and we are required to look closely at ourselves. During this process, we find our faults and they are not very fun to look at. As we find our limitations and admit to them, we begin the process of dying to self. Then as we die to self, we begin to decrease so that Christ can increase, or in other words, we begin to become little. Becoming little was something that Francis strove to do for his whole life.
This is the journey of Initial Formation and it is a difficult journey of traveling inward. However, the gifts to be found in our interior lives are worth the journey. I think all people whether they are in religious life or not should have an interior life.
What do you think?