Catholic Soup is a food for thought blog based website designed to provide Catholic insight through personal experience.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Workers of the Kingdom: The Beggar Builder

Building the Kingdom of God is such a vague phrase that I think a lot of times we're confused by it. For me questions start coming up like, how? and with what? It's like all of a sudden I'm looking for the new employee orientation signup sheet. Ok, maybe I should of took a construction class or two or watched dad while he was working extra closely. It's easy to miss the point, as you can already tell. In my reading, the life of Saint Francis can help us learn alot about building the kingdom, but not just building, we can learn how to rise up, and when to sit down. When we sit down, we instinctively listen, when we stand, it's a movement to get things down. A good worker knows that he can't get nothing done when he's sitting down, but it's good to sit and it's healthy to listen. St. Francis, was a builder, he was called to build not only himself, but the kingdom of God through the restoration of his own innerself. Which I find interesting. He was a beggar-builder. In his early conversion, St. Francis, lessened himself entirely so that he can build up. This came by placing himself in the dark and quiet caves. He would pray for hours at a time in the dark. Despite his lifelong desire to become wealthy and an honorable knight, amazingly, he abandoned all of that and placed himself at an even lower rank. First, francis sat and listened, he placed himself at the foot of the cross, inside an old shrine, the church of Saint Damian. Over the years the church had been neglected, run down and even worse, it was falling to pieces. It was here that Saint Francis of Assisi would pray before the crucifix. As Francis knelt before the cross, a voice came to him and said, "Francis, do you see that my church is in ruins? Go and restore it for me." That moment St. Francis rose, and did what he could to repair the broken church. Not only was the message a message of rebuilding, it was also a call to leave the things that he cherished so much and rebuild internally, and then outwardly from that. Francis would rise up and place himself among the lowest of the low; a beggar he would become, but not only a beggar but a new kind of beggar that asked for rock in order to build, rather then bread to satisfy himself. When we hear about the lessening of St. Francis, the message for us is to place ourselves at the foot of the cross, abandon those things that we want and listen to what God wants of us. We are each by our very nature, called to build up the kingdom of God. The Lesson from St. Francis is to put ourselves down first, in order that we build up. Sit down, pray and be silent even in chaos. Asking for bread in the sense of fulfilling what is good for ourselves, we are turning to the very needs of our own. By asking for rock, as Francis did, we are also asking God to provide us with everything necessary to build and fulfill his mission placed in us. But the kneel down is not easy, especially for a man, it's like asking for directions when your driving--guys just don't do it. But with this kneel down, this lessening comes all sorts of things, suffering comes, uncomfort, challenges and even changes that we might not be accustom to. The Joy is that all those things need to happen so that we can be made builders and workers for Christ. As a beggar builder, we are called to lessen ourselves, place ourselves below the rank of others and build up from there the Great Kingdom that we are called to build.  

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