Franciscan Spirit Blog

Franciscan Media: We Happy Few

I’m not exactly handy. The tool set I received for Christmas a decade ago is still encased in its plastic wrapping. If something needs repairing, rehabbing, or rebuilding, I don’t even bother. I call somebody.

Perhaps in some ways, I have a kindred spirit in Francis of Assisi. Growing up the wealthy son of a businessman, I wonder how proficient he was with his hands. There is evidence from biographers that a young Francis was wooed by earthly riches and dreams of fame on the battlefield. But that was not to be: Francis returned home from the Crusades broken and in need of rebuilding.

His spiritual reconstruction first happened during prayer in the chapel at San Damiano. Francis heard a voice say, “Francis, rebuild my Church, which has fallen into ruin.” He immediately set to work rebuilding the little chapel, but God was calling him to rebuild the worldwide Church. Suddenly, Francis was tasked with a greater mission.

I am, in a very small way, a continuation of that mission. As Franciscan Media’s editorial director, I am doing my level best to rebuild a Church that has fallen into ruin. People are hungry for hope. They need healing and wholeness. I am lucky to be a part of a team that provides those in abundance every day. I am useless with a power tool, but I am part of a humble crew helping to rebuild what has crumbled. I do my little part to help rebuild it.

It is one of my great blessings to work with creatives every day. Some of those creative forces are writers who contribute to our magazine, St. Anthony Messenger, or to our blog, Franciscan Spirit. I spoke to one such creative recently about writing opportunities. But our conversation almost immediately shifted to COVID-19—which hit the US months prior.

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“It feels almost biblical,” I said. “I can’t see a light at the end of this tunnel.”

“Then open your eyes,” she responded with a chuckle. “You can’t see the light if you choose to be in the dark.”

Point taken.

In my role here, one source of light for me has been the Franciscan friars. I marvel at their vocation—in particular how they live in community; how they share their lives with their chosen family. It’s awe-inspiring to me and, to be honest, more than a little puzzling. After COVID-19, and we at Franciscan Media were instructed to work from home, suddenly the concept of living in community didn’t seem gross or foreign to me. I’m not a Franciscan, but I am certainly a member of a community.

We at Franciscan Media are a family—a loving, lovingly dysfunctional, unit. Being largely separated from that family since 2020 has been something of a challenge. Zoom is an essential component to our workday, but I prefer in-person meetings. Instant messaging is helpful, but I’d rather have a visitor in my office. Simply put: I miss my community.

If you enjoy our many resources, please know that it is a very small group of devoted people who put those resources together every day of the calendar year. It is our mission to give battered spirits a lift—to provide light when the world is almost impenetrably dark.

One quote in particular aids me in this mission. “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle” is often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. There’s no evidence he wrote those words, but the power behind them are so inherently Franciscan that it hardly matters. It is a call to action to seek the light, to be an instrument of hope.

That is our sacred mission.

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