Sunday, July 22, 2012

Inhabiting the Habit

The Capuchin Franciscan habit is the symbol of our servant-leadership in the Church. It is a symbol of our sister-brotherhood with all peoples. In two hours, it will be given to me, and I will learn to inhabit it.

For the investiture ceremony I will be wearing my Interfaith Worker Justice T-shirt and a pair of khakis I bought two years ago at a Goodwill store in Boston. On my person will be a rosary, handcrafted in Mexico, that my sister Jennifer gave me. I will also be wearing, as I have daily for six years, the bronze cross of Ecclesia Ministries. These articles are a part of me. Now the habit will be, too.

The clothes do not make the person. The person confers meaning on the clothes. Every stitch of the Franciscan habit bears the story of saints and prophets. They have given the garment the powerful symbolism it has. Only icons of Jesus Christ could have made the Franciscan habit the iconic article it is. Now, with their eyes on the God of Jesus Christ, the God of Francis, another twenty-four men will pick up the thread of history and stitch their patch upon it.

May this garment never conceal me or cloak the image of God coming into focus in me. May this garment never cover faith, hope, and love, but let it reveal compassion. Let it inspire me to become, in my poor and humble fashion, and like Francis, an icon of Jesus. Amen.

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