By Anthony Rivera
Today was day one of Francis Clare week.
The annual Franciscan lecture was held in Founder’s Hall, with guest speaker Dr. John V. Kruse of Neumann University.
Kruse spoke about how becoming a Franciscan peacemaker through generosity can save the world.
Dr. Kruse explained that we live in a society where being a consumer and having possessions give us meaning, and in that search of having more we are longing for our sense of purpose.
What we fail to realize is that it is not until we give up our possessions and start taking a look at ourselves that we will find the true meaning and purpose of our lives.
St. Francis was the son of a wealthy merchant and had access to an abundant amount of money.
While Francis could have continued to live a life following in his father’s footsteps and looking for answers in material things, he turned all of that away and looked at himself and the people around him to find his true meaning and purpose.
Francis began to build relationships with the marginalized people that he once avoided such as the lepers.
Francis was once repulsed by the lepers and found them disgusting, but once he got rid of his possessions he was able to see their needs and embrace them, “turning a bitter situation sweet” as Dr. Kruse said.
It was through these new relationships and acts of self-giving and generosity that Francis was able to find peace.
Dr. Kruse explained that by choosing poverty, Francis was able to look at his relationship with God and find what was most important to him.
A generous attitude helps us follow our vocation in life and experience real meaning and purpose in life.
Through generosity, Kruse said that we will be able to join a union with God which will bring us peace.
The major take away from today’s lecture is that Francis and Clare teach us that generosity – rather than depleting our riches – provides us with the peace that we are ultimately looking for, and that is the peace that will save our world.