Since I last wrote, two major holidays occurred... the Feast of Saint Francis and my birthday!
We celebrated the feast of Saint Francis starting on Wednesday night with Transitus which is when Francis died and went to heaven. We went to Camden for the celebration, as they are also a Franciscan parish. It was a beautiful ceremony that comemorated the life of Francis and allowed us to reflect on the role he plays in our lives.
I'm not sure how familiar you all are with the life of Saint Francis, but he embodied humility and solidarity with the poor. He never wanted praise or glory, but sought to live among the poor and to rid himself of earthly distractions to focus on his relationship with God. If you get a chance, read up on him, he's a pretty cool guy.
The Franciscans here in Kensington are constantly challenging me and inspiring me to be more like Francis, an ideal that I feel is so unattainable for me. Every day I am reminded of how much I have to learn and how far away I am from how Francis lived his life. Francis never liked power, he never wanted to be in control and really purged himself of everything that was unnecessary in his life. Now, for those of you who know me even in the least bit, you know how much I am a control freak. I like knowing what's going on, I like being the boss (some might even call me bossy), and I certainly have a hard time surrendering that. However, when I see how the Team runs the Inn, with no one person having more control over the others, their sense of community and sharing is so evident that I pray that some of it rubs off on me.
In the Alcoholics Anonymous program, they have a saying, "Let go, let God." I think my struggle comes with not only giving up control here on Earth, but also completely trusting my life in God's hands. I believe that until I can surrender my life to God, there will be a barrier that prevents me from becoming more Franciscan.
In the meantime, I am trying to challenge myself to make smaller sacrifices in my daily life and am really praying for the strength to surrender the control to God. And I think this is the perfect place to help me with that.
As for the other big holiday, my birthday, I got to do pickups with Fr. Michael and then got to relax at home for awhile. I ended up in Camden with Joanne (she didn't want me to be home alone on my birthday) to see Into the Wild- a great movie, but really made me nervous for Paul's departure. He left Saturday morning after mass on his bike. We're praying that he is safe and finally feels as if he is doing what he should be. I went to lunch with my parents and Joanne and then my parents and I went into Center City to do a Duck Tour and walk around. It was a beautiful day and I am so grateful that they came down to spend my birthday with me (and to celebrate my dad's birthday too!). Today they worked the meal at the Inn and I am also grateful that they finally got to experience what I've been talking about so much.
It was a really great weekend and I am looking forward to more visits from them and others! (hint hint)