Francis of Assisi had multiple visions that changed the course of his life. He was intending a military career (having already fought and been imprisoned for a year—which did make him think twice about his extravagant lifestyle, but he returned to it at once when he was freed), until he had a vision that made that entire lifestyle seem totally tasteless. He continued to join his friends in their usual haunts for a while, but his heart was no longer in it. This started him on the path to a life of devotion to God. Once, when he was praying in a dilapidated church, he heard Jesus invite him to "repair" the church, that had fallen into ruin. He took the vision to mean rebuilding the church he had been praying in, San Damiano; but over time, he took part in rebuilding the “ruined” Church in general (as well as several local church sites, stone by stone). He also heard himself addressed once when the Scripture was being read about Jesus sending his disciples out, without money or extra clothing, to preach. He heard it as an invitation for his own life, and realized it was exactly what he wanted. He immediately took the uncomfortable clothing of the poorest of peasants, and went around preaching, refusing to own anything. Of course, we only know these moments in the saint’s life because he had a biographer, Thomas Celano, that wrote his story soon thereafter (and who had known him well). Consider your own story today. What are the moments in your life that you can look back at as turning points? You may or may not have had “visions” or heard God’s voice speaking directly to you, but there have been moments—big or small—that have changed the course of your life and your faith journey. What are some of those? How has God communicated with your heart? What have the invitations been? Your responses? How (perhaps like Francis's understanding of "rebuilding the church") have they shifted over time? How would you tell your story with God, at this point in your life?

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2022-07-12 13:30:45 UTC