St. Francis of Assisi used “Letting Go” as a way to get closer to God. He let go of his family, his possessions, his dream of being a knight and his fear of lepers. It wasn’t until Francis let go of these things that he was able to fully give his life to God. St. Francis says, “Hold back nothing of yourselves, for yourselves, that He who gives Himself totally to you, may receive you totally.”
It can be very difficult to let go, whether it be possessions, anger, negativity, suffering, or even someone you love. According to Fr. Richard Rohr in his book, “The Art of Letting Go,” letting go “is not losing; it is accessing a deeper, broader sense of the self.” He goes further to say that, “the practice of letting go is not attained by willpower or intellect. On some level, it will always feel like losing or dying, but you can only learn that after the fact. Each time we let go, we find ourselves in deeper and greater joy.” God will always be there to pick us up when we are down if we are willing to open ourselves to him.
We can see that with St. Francis. Once he let go, he felt abundant joy in everything around him – trees, flowers, animals, people, and ultimately, God. Even Pope Francis said in his homily on December 11th, “Christians must be strong and let go of all the bitterness and negativity that prevent them from experiencing God’s consolation and joy.”
What can you let go of as a way of becoming more vulnerable and open to God?
This brief article on Franciscan Spirituality was written by one of the Pastoral Council members. We invite you to please read and discuss this article in any meetings you might have this month.