May the Lord give you peace!
On the Feast of the Portiuncula, I took some time to reflect on the following words of Thomas of Celano:
Although Francis realized that the kingdom of heaven is found in every dwelling on earth, and though he believed that heaven’s graces are imparted everywhere to God’s chosen ones, he had learned nevertheless that the church of Saint Mary at Portiuncula was filled with more abundant grace and visited more frequently by heavenly spirits. Consequently he used to say to his friars: “See to it, my sons, that you never leave this place. If you are driven out by one door return by another for this is truly a holy place and God’s dwelling.“
“Where is my little portion?” I asked myself. Where is that place that I feel close to God’s abundant grace, the place that I can go to that is frequented by heavenly spirits? That was more a rhetorical question. We each can find those special places where we feel closest to God. But the more I think about what this feast means to me, I’m don’t know if I see the Portiuncula as a place of sanctuary, to retreat from the busyness of the world and be still. Rather, I see it is a place of conversion: a place where God transforms us just as he transformed Francis.
And maybe it’s not just a single location, but rather, a disposition of the heart, a desire to be changed, to be transformed, to be re-created.
So in remembrance of the Feast of the Portiuncula, let us all pray for the poverty of spirit to be transformed into the image of Christ and be the heralds of love, hope, and joy that the world so desperately needs.
–Bob Burnham, OFS