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There is a Buddhist saying that “the teacher will appear when the student is ready.” One of the teachers who has appeared in my life is Franciscan priest Fr. Richard Rohr.

I quote Fr. Rohr often and usually find myself telling my Catholic friends that some of them will not like everything he has to say about the current state of our religious affairs. The reflection below is a sample of what arrives in my e-mail box each morning. My last homily was on humility, and I wished I had included this small nugget of wisdom that you can use the words  goodness and humility to describe God.

The two adjectives most applied to God by Franciscan mysticism were goodness and humility. Hardly any of us would think to call God humble, but Francis did. He fell in love with the humility of God because if God emptied himself and hid himself inside the material world as in Jesus, and waits so patiently for us to grow up, then God is very humble indeed.

Francis fell in love more with Jesus’ humanity than with his divinity. It was his humanity that he wanted to draw close to and imitate. Only in a humble state, and among the humble, could Francis easily and naturally see God. He even loved humble creatures like worms, and crickets, and little lambs because they more truthfully revealed the Mystery of Jesus.

Some art historians say that Western Christian art changed after Francis. Giotto, the early Renaissance painter and architect, for example, moved from the depiction of exclusively sacred scenes and religious icons, to the painting of natural life: animals, nature, and human encounters. It is never the same afterwards, because this world and God’s world are now revealing themselves as one.

 

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