St. Francis preaching to the birds
All Souls Memorial Episcopal Church, Photo by Ron Ross
When I tell a story, answer a question, or try to explain a decision I have made, I suppose it is only natural to want to justify myself and present myself as competent and thoughtful. But how often do I adjust things ever so slightly? How often do I add an extra sentence in an effort to charm or color? Are there times when I phrase things in just such a way as to leave the impression that my own role in something has been more than it actually has been? This is a challenge—but a holy one, I think—to let my yes be yes, and my no be no.
We celebrate St. Francis of Assisi this weekend and will continue to reflect on his life through the year. Francis was simple. He was not formally educated and he did not view the world with nuance. He spoke simple truth. He lived with simplicity, and he sought to be a brother to the simplest of God’s creatures. Even though Francis traveled and preached, journeyed and served, he didn’t “spin.” He didn’t try to enhance or exaggerate his life, his words, or even his God. Instead, wherever he went, whatever condition he was in, Francis offered himself completely to Christ.