The Church Times back page interview today was with Third Order Franciscan tertiary Paul Alexander. I’ve given it a mention over on my Greenpatches blog. He talks about the imperative to hold onto the Franciscan characteristics of joy, foolishness and daring in the midst of a growing and changing order. Interesting. I’ve been around TSSF for nearly five years now, and, still sometimes find it difficult to pin down that elusive Franciscan something or other. Say Benedictine? Yup, I’ve got it. Dominican? I can catch a glimpse. Franciscan? Hmmm. Although I’ll admit that at its best, the Order does have its fair share of subversive personalities, (aka awkward so and sos). Subversive in a restrained, Anglican manner, of course!
Self included. Yes, I have my moments, my ‘Barbara Woodehouse blowing up horses’ noses moments). Like last night’s church prayer group, where the passage chosen for Lectio was the one from Numbers 11 describing God’s provision of quails to feed the starving Israelites in the desert. “Listen for the word that is spoken to you.” Have you read that passage? Yes, really? Go on, have a peep. And then tell me you’d be able to keep your head when all about you seem oblivious to the phrase that was sending me into waves of silent hysteria: No one gathered less than ten homers. Thank the Lord that we hadn’t chosen Ignatian imaginative contemplation that night! (And I keep saying I have no pictorial imagination!).
To restore the tone of the proceedings, mercifully there was another phrase that stuck out for me – so I managed to sort myself out by the end of the session. Well, it was a challenging passage. The spirit blows where it will etc. Only in my case, it seems to do it by way of my funnybone. I must be a bona fide Franciscan after all.