As we move closer to Easter during Holy Week I thought it might be good to reflect a little on the model of St. Francis of Assisi for all Christians. While the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord is, on the one hand, of the greatest importance and seriousness, reflection on Christian life is not on occasion for us to “take ourselves” too seriously. This is part of the wisdom of St. Francis gleaned from the Scriptures — we need to risk being seen as foolish in the eyes of the worldly “serious” to follow in the footprints of Christ.
Contrary to popular opinion, I think it’s sometimes good to be a fool. Most people approach foolishness in one of two ways. The first is to avoid any such scenario at all costs. The specter of failure and embarrassment haunts the professional, emotional and social lives of millions, quietly hindering people from sharing their opinions or speaking up in front of others.
The second is to exploit one’s potential foolishness to an extreme degree. While those who wish to avoid appearing foolish might recoil at the thought of public humiliation, hundreds of people have risen as stars of YouTube, reality television and daytime talk shows by acting as foolish as possible.
Neither of these approaches shows well what I have in mind—something that could be called evangelical foolishness, becoming “God’s fool,” a term applied to St. Francis of Assisi. There is perhaps no better time for a Franciscan friar’s first column in America than the issue dated April 1, the traditional day of fools, right after the election of the new pope, who will be known as Francis. St. Francis might rightly be regarded as the patron saint of fools. He might also offer us a surprising, if uneasy, Christian virtue between two foolish vices…
Read the rest of the article over at America