In order to live into the life he felt God calling him into, St. Francis of Assisi had to renounce much of his old life. He left behind riches and reveling, the lifestyle of his friends, and even his own family. His father fought him hard every time he made a step toward a life of loving the poor (or becoming poor himself), and became so angry with his choices that once he even locked him in a dark storeroom (eventually to be freed by his mother). When the day came that his father took him to court, it was essentially to force him to choose—and he chose life with God. As he stripped off the clothes that technically belonged to his father, he renounced all that his father offered him and valued for him. He is reported to have said, “From now on I will no longer say, My Father Pietro Bernadone, but Our Father who art in heaven.” He became free that day, to live the life he sensed was God’s invitation for him—one his earthly father would not allow. While this is an extreme case, this total renunciation, there is a sense in which we all have to separate from the expectations of our families of origin (even the best of them!) in order to live the life we are meant to. Francis quite literally embraced the saying of Jesus: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” Now, we are not all called to such a severe expression of this. But, as you consider your own story and life with God, how have you had to let go certain expectations of the people closest to you in order to enter into the life God is inviting you to, and its accompanying freedom? Is there some way you are needing to do that now? What would it be to both “honor your father and mother” AND refuse to allow them to stunt whatever growth God has in mind for you?

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2022-07-15 13:30:28 UTC