The theme for this year’s Greater Cincinnati Franciscan Day was “Without Anything of My Own.” First, second and third order Franciscans gathered to hear Fr. Dan Crosby, O.F.M. Cap.
He began his talk with a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer: “Oh, let’s not talk about poverty. That’s so negative. Let’s talk about Franciscan joy. Let’s talk about Franciscan community. I know! Let’s talk about Franciscan care for creation. That’s where it’s at today.”
But, he said, trying to be Franciscan without poverty is like trying to be Christian without the cross. It can’t be done. Poverty is the heart of the Franciscan charism. The vow to live without anything of one’s own is about more than material poverty, living without stuff.
As Fr. Crosby walked through the five stages of understanding this vow in his own life, this became abundantly clear. We never get it completely right. And if we think we do, that illusion in itself becomes something to let go of. But we keep coming back to the central message.
The other thing that became abundantly clear is that following Francis puts you right at the heart of the uncompromising but life-giving message of the Gospel.
I came away from the day with renewed inspiration and a deeper understanding of why things go wrong in my life. All is gift, all is grace. Truly living Franciscan poverty is what leads to Franciscan community, Franciscan care for creation—and Franciscan joy!