Find Your Voice

Albert Chevallier Tayler, “St Francis” (1898)

I am a fan of Saint Francis. In fact, if I (a former Catholic, now protestant) were to claim a “patron saint” it would be Francis. I admire his passionate faith and his compassionate nature. I’ve read much about the 13th century friar, a former Italian soldier who is the founder of the Franciscan order of monks.

I’ve often quoted Saint Francis when talking about sharing our faith:

“Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”

The only thing is, there is no evidence that Francis ever uttered those words.

From Glenn Stanton of the National Catholic Register:

“None of his disciples or biographers have these very quotable words coming from his mouth. It doesn’t show up in any of his writings. Not even close, really. The closest comes from his Rule of 1221 on how the Franciscans should practice their preaching:

No brother should preach contrary to the form and regulations of the holy Church nor unless he has been permitted by his minister . . . All the Friars . . . should preach by their deeds.

Essentially, make sure your deeds match your words. While there’s a nice and good sentiment in the statement—be sure you live out the grace and truth of the Gospel—the notion as it is typically presented is neither practical, nor faithful to the Gospel of Christ. It does not align with St. Francis’ own practice.”

Francis, in fact, was quite animated and vocal, often standing on a box when he preached or stepping up into a doorway so that he could be both seen and heard.

Why do I tell you this?

We should never assume that others will simply “catch” what’s important for them to know about our lives, our beliefs, our hopes and desires by just watching us in action. Though how we live our lives should line up with our testimony, it is still important to put voice to the ideals and traditions we wish to pass on to our families and to those we hope to influence in our lives.

In other words, tell your story. Find a way to put into words the “slice of life” that will have an impact or leave a legacy. Find your voice.

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Life stories knit us together, whether to family or to others who just need to know they are not alone. In these 31 days of October, I’ll be exploring the importance of STORY. You can read all 31 days by following the links under “31 Days of Story”. And, you can read blogs from other writers taking the #Write31Days challenge by visiting the website here.

Tomorrow: A Live Facebook Chat With Auntie Em

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