Springingtiger's Blog


Saint Francis and the Lenten Fast
February 18, 2014, 23:30
Filed under: NLP, success, Travel | Tags: , , , , ,

The story is told of how, when St Francis found himself near Lake Trasimene at the the start of Lent he chose to spend the fast alone on one of the lake’s the islands, Maggiore. He was rowed across to the island on Ash Wednesday, taking with him only two loaves of bread. On Holy Thursday when his host came to take him off the island he discovered Father Francis had eaten only half a loaf. According to Brother Ugolino, the writer or editor of the Fioretti, the saint only ate the half loaf so that the glory of the Lenten Fast should be reserved to Jesus alone.

I could not help but compare the humility of Father Francis with the leaders of today’s “new age spirituality” and personal development movements. I have been involved with things like Reiki and NLP for many years and find it quite sad how desperately people strive for self aggrandisement. It is not enough to use the teachings and discoveries of those who have gone before, but it is essential to rebrand and copyright them, then cash in on them. I firmly believe that there is nothing wrong with earning a living, a good living even, but give credit where credit is due. Many years ago I did the est training, Werner Erhard created it from many sources, but those sources were acknowledged as anyone who read “Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man, The Foundation of est ” by WW Bartley, III will remember. However Werner’s course was an original creation bringing together his sources in a new and powerful way, sadly many of those who have used Werner’s work have not seen fit to acknowledge him, equally many have. I was chatting to Darren Eden at the weekend about some of my teachers and said he was, in my opinion, on the same level; he took it as a compliment and said, “it’s enough to be compared to Werner Erhard!” Of course Darren is secure enough in himself to acknowledge his sources, neither is monetary gain his priority. On the other hand there are many who must be seen not as a conveyor of truth, but as a chosen prophet their sources concealed, their debts unacknowledged, they advertise themselves and package enlightenment or sanctity as a commercial product. Along with the DVD of their course, or whatever, you can buy your own Angel set with your birthstone, perhaps a set of cards to aid your search for truth. Still none of this is new, as long as people have been seeking enlightenment or God, there have been people happy to seize upon the business opportunity the gullible present.

I am reminded once more of the Fioretti which tells of how much Francis disliked anyone to call him “Master” because of that same humility that had him eat the half loaf on his Lenten Fast. He was very present to St Matthew’s Gospel which said to him, “he that is greatest among you shall be your servant and whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted”. Today the village that grew on Maggiore after St. Francis’ visit is still there, the Friars Minor and the other Franciscan orders still work in the world although, around them, the Church has contracted and come under criticism. It seems to me that Francis knew what he was doing and some of our modern self appointed “spiritual teachers” may have got things backwards.

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