Friday, October 04, 2013

Reflection: St Francis

"My God and my all." St Francis of Assisi 
St Francis' affirmation makes for a very convenient spiritual exercise. We can use the phrase "My God and my all" as a Lectio Divina exercise...(1) Reading or reciting the phrase slowly, then (2) meditating on what the phrase means to us or what a word or part of the phrase brings to mind for us, then (3) asking questions of the insight that has come to us (dissecting it, deconstructing it, probing it, arguing with it, trying to see it from a variety of angles), and then finally (4) releasing it all while slipping into deep Silence beyond discursive thinking.
"My God and my all."

Another way to use St Francis' phrase is as a mantra. Simply say over and over for several minutes non-stop, "My God and my all, my God and my all, my God and my all, my God and my all, my God and my all..." Soon, we'll find ourselves in a meditative state letting the words wash over us while our deeper Selves simply commune with the Infinite. The words may plant themselves deeply in our subconscious minds where they will later sprout as spiritual insight or profound optimism, or they may simply serve as a screen to keep out distracting thoughts so that we can immerse ourselves in abundant peace.

Finally, St Francis' statement can serve as a simple theological observation. Believing that Life is infinite, that the Life-force is omnipresent and enfolds, flows through, and expresses as every life, that the "Ground of being" is the All-in-all (and All-as-all), that there is one divine, universal Presence and Power which many of us call "God," can be simply summed up in the words, "My God and my all." It is a simple and still powerful reminder of supreme Omnipresence, the Light within all life, the Source of life that includes all life, that fills all space and is everywhere fully and evenly present. As we often say, "there's not a spot where God is not." But before our catchy rhyme, St Francis said, "My God and my all."

Today is the Feast Day of St Francis. Often we use this day to give thanks for our pets and for the opportunity to care for them and we wish them long lives of contentment. We think of animals because Francis is said to have honored all life and to have ministered to animals as well as people.

Beyond the tradition of blessing animals, let's remember that Francis was a simple cleric who saw and served God in all life. He was aware of the Omnipresence and remembering him today can help us acknowledge and commune with the Omnipresence as well.

There's not a spot where God is not.
My God and my all!
 - Durrell Watkins,  MA, MDiv, DMin

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