Remember to keep in mind that all the past is nothing and that every day we should say with David, “Now I begin to love my God.” To work, to exhaust oneself for God, is love. Therefore, apply everything to this love – eating, drinking, repose. Be very devoted to Saint Louis and admire his great constancy in loving. (Letters 334; O. XII, pp. 367-368)
Ah, dear Francis, tell me this again: “The past is nothing”? That I might begin again, daily, in devotion, in letting go, in loving, in being — this is my prayer! What is it to put behind my failures, my shortcomings, my doubts, and turn, once again toward Love?
There are days that I could be eaten up by anger, by responsibility, by my lack of patience with the door bell, phone — an email asking for something more than it seems I am able to give. I turn to Francis’ words here, and meditate for a moment on his invitation to work — to “exhaust oneself for God” and know that this work is Love.
I think of my three month old daughter, Marguerite Marie — who is all need and want and innocence in her little girl body — and what a joy it is to be her mom. I hold my husband and step-daughter in my prayers, and am reminded of all the ways that I’m called to be present with these beautiful souls. This life is gift, is work, is love. (The bottles, the meals, the book-reading, the motivating, the bill management, the never-ending-teaching, the calendar-creating, the prep for what’s next.) It’s that which Francis affirms is exhausting, and is LOVE. And these words feel oddly renewing to me.
I so appreciate what he says next, “apply everything to this love – eating, drinking, repose.” I am reminded of Sr. Katherine teaching me about intention, focusing on each action as prayer, in the Salesian manner of living. I imagine Love flowing through me in each activity, as mundane as bottle making or sweet as putting my daughter down for a nap. Eating. Drinking. Repose. Amen!
Could my devotion to my family, to my faith, to my home life and community be akin at all to the saint that Francis points us toward? Are my efforts at loving in line with the constancy shown by St. Louis? I wonder, “Could my renewed efforts at love be in line with Christ’s?”
I invite you all to find your own renewal in the words of St. Francis, in the example of St. Louis, in the prayer you have inside your own heart, meditating on your life and letting go.
You are love. You are loved.