preacher, Charles Spurgeon, once said, "If God had a new work for me
to do, and I would have 25 years to do it, I would spend the first
20 years in preparation."
This is the way
it was with me and the founding of "Franciscan Fire," a ministry
which seeks to follow Jesus in the same way as did Francis of
In 1966, while a
student at the Episcopal Seminary in Alexandria, VA, I became a
member of the Franciscan Third Order, which consists of those,
married and single, who live in the world, not in a
In the year 2000,
I felt led to start a Franciscan ministry in our church as a way to
develop radical Christians, following the path laid by Francis of
Assisi, one of the most radical Christians the church has ever
We didn't know
what we were doing, but the Holy Spirit did. We met weekly and
centered our meetings on the reading of, "the little flowers of
saint francis," an ancient collection of stories about St. Francis
and the men and women who followed him.
Soon the Holy
Spirit joined us and blessed us with his joy as we read the stories.
We added daily prayers and the reading of the Gospels, especially
Matthew. Francis always taught that we should go, "from the Gospel
to life, and from life to the Gospel."
On Sept. 11, the
day of the terrorist attack in New York, we prayed in church all day
and, that evening, our archbishop arrived and installed us as a
ministry under his care.
"Now, many years later,
the Lord is still calling us to go out into the world and carry the
Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost, the least and the last, to the
suffering in this dark and dying world."
We still don't
know what we're doing, but the Holy Spirit does, and we have
Francis, the little poor man of Assisi, as our role model and