Feast of St. Francis

Today is the Feast of St Francis of Assisi. Here is today’s meditation of Fr. Richard Rohr on Franciscan mysticism, particularly on what he calls the ‘univocity of being’.

* * *

On our great feast day of Francis, let me elaborate a little further on what we Franciscans believe to be “the Univocity of all Being.” Univocity, in Latin, means “one voice.” When you speak of God, when you speak of angels, when you speak of humans, when you speak of animals, when you speak of trees, when you speak of fish, when you speak of the earth, you are using the word “Being” univocally, or with one foundational and common meaning.

They all participate in the same Being to varying degrees. And being is One, as is God. It might seem like an abstract philosophical position, but I hope you can see how life-changing it is. Now we have an inclusive and consistent universe where everything is sacred, where you can’t divide the world into the sacred and profane anymore. God is revealed in everything and uses everything without exception (1 Corinthians 15:28, Colossians 3:11).

Thus later biographers have brilliantly called Francis “an authentic spiritual genius” and “our one sincere democrat” (lowercase “d”). Today we bless all the creatures in his honor!
From an unpublished talk in Assisi, Italy, May 2012
For more on Franciscan Mysticism, consider
Great Chain of Being: Simplifying Our Lives (CD/DVD/MP3)

Prayer:
I will seek the goodness and humility of God.

On our great feast day of Francis, let me elaborate a little further on what we Franciscans believe to be “the Univocity of all Being.” Univocity, in Latin, means “one voice.” When you speak of God, when you speak of angels, when you speak of humans, when you speak of animals, when you speak of trees, when you speak of fish, when you speak of the earth, you are using the word “Being” univocally, or with one foundational and common meaning.

They all participate in the same Being to varying degrees. And being is One, as is God. It might seem like an abstract philosophical position, but I hope you can see how life-changing it is. Now we have an inclusive and consistent universe where everything is sacred, where you can’t divide the world into the sacred and profane anymore. God is revealed in everything and uses everything without exception (1 Corinthians 15:28, Colossians 3:11).

Thus later biographers have brilliantly called Francis “an authentic spiritual genius” and “our one sincere democrat” (lowercase “d”). Today we bless all the creatures in his honor!

From an unpublished talk in Assisi, Italy, May 2012
For more on Franciscan Mysticism, consider
Great Chain of Being: Simplifying Our Lives (CD/DVD/MP3)

Prayer:
I will seek the goodness and humility of God.

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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