As the beginning of our Postulancy year begins to pave its path in our discernments, my brothers and I are marked with the symbol of St. Francis. To start the year we are welcomed into the Franciscan Capuchin brotherhood as formees, thus the marking of the Tau.
The Tau cross is the last letter of the Greek Alphabet and began to emerge during the formation and conversion of St. Francis of Assisi. In fact, he used it as a symbol for his brotherhood by putting it in paintings and on walls where he stayed, he even traced it over his body before any of his actions. The Tau cross was a coat of arms for him and he used it as his symbol. In introducing his brotherhood and order to Pope Innocent III at the time, the reigning Holy Father proclaimed that while the marking of the Tau was a gesture and only for those who have committed to crucifying the flesh of their own bodies of sin and destruction and conforming their lives to the life of Christ by imitating his life and love.
The Mark of the Tau is a transformation from dying to the sin that once held us and rising to the new life of Christ. In a very real way, my brothers and I are learning to conform our lives not only to this brotherhood, but also to the life of Christ. The forming is within the very marking of the Tau, and also the conforming to new life both Spiritual; in prayer and meditation, and also the physical; adapting to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The honor and privilege for me is being able to wear the signature of Saint Francis that very closely depicts Christ Crucified. The joy is that it allowed me to feel all the hurt that I had placed on Christ through the weight of my sin and I wanted to fulfill the mission of the Tau: To mortify the flesh of my own sin and be transformed not only by the message of the Cross but to the message of the Cross that is, to the life of Christ Crucified.