My dear Francis,
Peace and everything good for you. What great news! Who would have ever imagined one of your brothers becoming Bishop of Rome! Our Lord is truly wonderful. Rome is the place for the rich and powerful and now sitting on the throne is a brother of Francis! I heard he refuses to wear the fancy robes of his office. They say he is preaching humility, serving the poor, and will visit prisoners during our Holy Days? And people say miracles do not exist!
Francis, I know there is only one reason to be truly excited and this is when our Lord visits us in our hearts. But regarding Earthly news, you must admit this is exciting! Kings and Queens, the rich and powerful will be coming to Assisi not to judge you but to ask how can they join you on your path? What will you tell them? Will you ask them to throw their riches into the river? Will you tell them to give all their power away? Francis are you ready for the world to be at your feet like the little birds in your garden? Imagine everyone with one prayer, one heart, asking "Lord make me an instrument!"
Peace, Francis, peace -- this is what you should teach! Let them keep their possessions. Let them keep their worldly power. Share with them the simple peace. This is enough. Tell them about the beauty of peace in every moment. Give them the simple steps that you and I know so well. Step by step, peace and more peace with everyone and everything. This will be a good beginning. Once they feel the peace, what do riches and power have to offer? Why would they chase after earthly comforts when they have life's true treasure? Once they feel the peace inside what else is of value but wanting to serve one another?
Everyone wants peace, Francis, but they do not know the source of this peace. You must teach them. Real peace comes only from a peaceful heart! And a peaceful heart comes from finding so much God inside that there is no room for anything else but peace.
When the princes and princesses of the world come to Assisi, take them on top of Mt. Subasio. Ask them to be quiet and listen to sister wind. Invite them to let brother silence carve out a home in the stillness of their heart. "Here is peace. Prayer is the simplicity of your own heart." Francis, I hear your words. "All we need to do is offer everything in our heart." Sit with them Francis. Tell them not to be in such a hurry! Ask them to sit and feel our Lord's presence. Let them know, "There is an inner garden!" Teach them Francis that peace is a practice. Every day we go to the sacred well of peace inside our hearts. As peace becomes more important, our self importance becomes less. Slowly, slowly we become instruments with a sound that is beautiful and true. Peace is not something that happens in the world. Peace happens in our world as we make friends with the nakedness of our heart. Francis, this is your teaching, your life. It is no accident so many brothers have come to you from all over the world. You have shown us all, God is no further away than our heart.
Francis, I remember our time together recently in the olive trees at San Damiano. We talked all day without a word spoken. In the perfect silence we shared everything in our hearts. The birds, little flowers, trees, the whole world seemed in complete agreement. Then the farmers from nearby came running up to us saying they saw flames and smoke! It was only you and me Francis, sitting, looking at one another, burning inside in simple peace.
I never shared with you, Francis, but that night I cried myself asleep. There were so many tears of gratitude for all the milk and honey God has opened in my heart. The tears would not stop, neither does my gratitude for what we give to one another.
Thank you Francis, eternally thank you.
Yours truly in our Lord.