I do not know what is going to unfold here as I write, but I am doing so only because the Holy Spirit is urging me to do so.
From the very beginnings of the Franciscan spiritual movement, Mary has been the pivot or hinge of the spiritual makeup of all the communities calling themselves Franciscan.
We know that without her courageous YES to God, none of this would be here. Her knowing that the moment Mary said Yes to God through Archangel Gabriel, she was tossing aside all her family’s expectations of her.
She was not long out of being of service to the Temple,14 or 15 at most.
Here she was…saying yes to not just becoming the mother of Jesus, but of being inexplicably pregnant at so early an age and not have “known” a man. Jewish law and custom strongly looked down upon a girl like Mary.
Can you see or hear her trying to explain it even in this day and age??
“But mom, there was this Angel…” to which would come the reply, “yes dear I’m sure you thought he was.”
Nevertheless, with all these thoughts going on inside of her, she said yes. Her trust in God was absolute.
So was Francis’ trust in God and God’s calling for him. After his conversion, his eyes were opened to being a possessor of material goods.
He knew from this burning desire deep from within that Trust in God was an absolute thing. He, like Mary, might not have seen the future outcome of their trust, but it was there. Their trust may have been sorely tried on many occasions, yet it was still immovable.
His devotion to Mary is well known. He understood what it meant to be a servant. He was a deacon in the church. He stood by the priest as minister of the cup just like Mary stood by the bleeding side of her son Jesus.
We too as spiritual children of our father among the saints Francis, as well as Mary, understand God’s call to serve. To be Franciscan servants, means, like Mary, to say YES to Jesus. To serve Jesus in the face of others, and to BE Jesus to others, others so desperately seeking Him in this world. We as Franciscan servants are the arms of Christ to hold, hug, and heal. We are the voice of Christ proclaiming his love to a world so lost, and a world so hurt by mainstream churches. We boldly say yes, each day we awake, we pray and attend the Eucharist. We say yes when we talk about our spirituality to others. I am not saying that because we say yes to serve Jesus we are automatically perfect. NO! We strive by our small ‘yes’ to slowly become perfection in the eyes of our Loving God.
I hope in some small way; these words are a help to those who read them. May they be food for the hungry soul, seeking a different way of life.
Blessings to you and yours my sisters and brothers.
Bishop Mel Borham is a long time member of the Independent Sacramental Movement. He lives in Massachusetts and is a member of the Old Catholic Churches International.