It has been two months since investiture and the beginning of the novitiate program. Occasionally some insight has hit me with the force of truth. Here are a few of them.
Love is more important than happiness.
Happiness is an ultimate value, but not an absolute value.
Seek after heavenly joy, not earthly happiness.
Joy is not the same as happiness.
And peace is more needed than happiness.
If love and peace do not bring happiness, so be it. That is all right.
Let us love instead. Let us work for peace instead.
Happiness is not the greatest value.
Happiness will destroy mercy and justice if it is made the highest good.
Happiness will lead to war if it is made the highest good.
There is an objective reality.
There is not an absolutely objective perception.
Our vision is not perfect like God's vision.
We do not see free from our perspective.
But we can ask God to broaden our perspective, to see as God sees, from within the totality of reality.
If your sisters and brothers were to make you change for the worse, or if they were to make it impossible for you to change for the better, it would be better to leave them.
If your family were to conspire to change for the worse, it would be better to leave your family.
If your family conspired to change for the better, but despite its good faith efforts failed to do so, you would do well to stay in the struggle with them, because of the faith that is there.
Finally, not an insight, but a question or three:
How do you obtain your daily bread without wringing it from the sweat of other people's brows? How do you make sure you do not benefit from ill-gotten gains, from those whose gifts, whether they know it or not, are a product of exploitive amassment of wealth?
Franciscans are always to be lesser brothers. At times in the past they have been (wittingly and unwittingly) put in service of the powers that be, as court prophets, as members of the Temple aristocracy. How do Franciscans today make sure they remain faithful voices in the wilderness?