Living with integrity challenges all of us.
First, there is the challenge of identifying the values that we feel compelled to live by; then there is the need to commit to them, whether or not we have the support of friends and family.
Then there is the work of finding others with similar commitments, so that we can grow in depth and creativity, expressing, sharing and communicating the love that gives us life in the ways that are uniquely ours to do. Growing in virtue is not about copying others. It is about knowing who we most deeply are, and committing ourselves to becoming a dwelling place for God, so that God's light and love and wisdom can form and shape us and so that we can begin to extend that light and love and wisdom into our hurting world.
Who better than Francis to walk with us on such a profound journey of change and metanoia?
This morning we spent time considering this encouraging message from him, inscribed on the church above Francis's birth home here in Assisi:
Brother, sister: I have been waiting for you.
Welcome to the house where I was born and where I spent the first 24 years of my life.
The parties with my friends, the dreams of glory, the early encounter with the Lord and the path of conversion toward God, the prison that I experienced in Perugia and then here, in my own home, the conflict with my father and then my departure from here.
God was calling me to repair God’s own home in me, and to build up the church, Christ’s own body. It was better to obey God than to obey my father Pietro.
Brother, sister: be a pilgrim here in my earthly home, but walk toward the house of God within you, and toward God’s own home and paradise.
Rise up and walk.
I will accompany you with the witness of my life, and I will sustain your steps with my prayers.
Go forward and walk. I am waiting for you.
May God bless you.