Peace and all good! My name is Friar John Bamman and I help people discern the call of God in their lives. Our past can be a wonderful guide to where God is calling us.
We can look back on where we have been and what direction fills us with excitement, and conversely those options that fill us with dread. God works actively through our experiences although we may not always be aware during this holy navigation. God may come crashing into our lives like St Paul being thrown to the ground by the blinding light of God (Acts 9:1-19). Or God may whisper softly in our ear when we take the psalmists direction to "be still and know that I am God" (Ps 46:10). Whether God may be crashing suddenly or whispering gently, God is alive and active in all our human experience.
The call of St. Francis of Assisi was both. When he was in his twenties and distraught with his own failure to rise to the famed glories of a battle-tested knight, Jesus crashed into his life. As Francis prayed before the San Damiano Cross begging the Lord, "what would you have me do?" Jesus came alive from the cross and defined the call of Francis, "Go repair my church for as you can see it has fallen into ruins."
Francis went off joyfully doing just that. He went door to door begging for stones and building supplies to restore the dilapidated church of San Damiano. Later in life Francis heard that same call whispered in his ear to embrace the leper in the street and risk a joyful greeting, to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, to venture as a missionary through Islamic territory to meet with the Sultan, to tame a wolf terrorizing the town of Gubbio, and to seek out those forgotten and living on the margins. Francis went after those living stones, those people in need of charity, and he built them up and welcomed them into the Catholic Church. This was the call of St. Francis and our call today to continue.
St. Francis did not ask for the world to follow after him, he did not even set out to establish a religious order. The call of Francis so inspired others to discover their own call that today we have millions chasing after this joyful holy man Francis. Franciscans cover the globe and even Jesuit Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio has been inspired by this little friar from Italy and has adopted the saint's name, Pope Francis. We are all called to build up the Church in a way that no one else on earth can do, and this is what we name our vocational call.
Boldly make that prayer today, like St. Francis of Assisi did, "what would you have me do Lord?"
You have now done it, you made that first step to ask the question, now you can follow up and talk with a friar about it. If you are located in the Southwest you can speak to Friar Andy Martinez, OFM Conv. or in the Midwest you can speak to Friar John Bamman, OFM Conv. and both may be found here at www.FranciscanS.org
Through the intercession of St. Francis may you know His peace, the Lord of Peace, our Savior Jesus Christ.
Friar John Bamman, OFM Conv
Our Lady of Consolation Vocation Office
6901 Dixie Hwy.
Louisville, KY 40258