Francis, Charles and detachment

A few months ago a lovely quote appeared on Twitter, posted by Fr Charles OFM Cap (@FrCharles), an American based in Rome who specialises in wryly humorous observations. Although his blog is linked to this one, we have never met: I simply started following him on Twitter because a friend recommended him, but until that day we had never communicated. But as soon as I saw the quote I asked him where it came from: it was a quote I would love to circulate more widely, maybe via this blog, but would also want to cite the author. His reply to this complete stranger? Feel free; it's just a phrase that occurred to me. If you like you can link back my blog or Twitter page. Be well!

I was impressed at such a casually detached attitude to words which were his creation, his words - his "intellectual property". Not I would like you to cite me but if you like... And then in the next second I remembered that he is a Franciscan, living the spiritual legacy of Il Poverello, whose feast day is today. For Francis, union and conformity with Christ came through radical detachment: from material possessions, certainly, but also, crucially, from those more nebulous and deeper-seated things we can hang on to; such as pride in our achievements and our creativity - including our own beautiful words.

So today, in honour of St Francis, I share these words, gifted to me - a stranger - by a man who, despite the awareness of his limitations he sometimes writes about, truly lives his Franciscan vocation. I hope they speak to you as they do to me, and, inspired, we can even try to live them...

To love someone means to make yourself the servant of the unique and unrepeatable joy God desires for them

Oh, and happy feast to Charles, to all Franciscans, to the Pope and to all Italians too! May Francis pray very especially for his country in all its woes, and for all who have died near Lampedusa.


  1. Thanks for your kind encouragement. May the example and prayers of St. Francis make us peaceful and do us good.


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