Saint Francis
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You Can Change the World

Affirmation:  All
things are possible through God.

women were present at the weekend retreat. 

command was “Women of God, you are called to change the world.”  I panicked. 
Maybe now would be a good time for me to run out of the room.

working hard enough trying to be the best me possible or somedays I’m working
on simply accepting myself just as I am. 
I really couldn’t imagine being responsible for the entire world.  I’ve felt responsible for my entire world for
years, my family, friends and community. 
It’s a daunting exercise and now here I am being told, not asked, but
told I am being called to take on the entire world. 

Yes, I
believe the world needs help.  I believes
it needs to change.  It doesn’t take much
awareness to know our world is very troubled and sad.  I pray daily for wisdom for our world
leaders, a prayer introduced to me by a friend of long ago and I pray daily for
world peace.  Can you imagine how
different life would be were we all at peace with one another?  At the least maybe they’d take away the
security lines at the airport and we could leave on our shoes, belts and

there be peace and earth and let it begin with me.  Let there be peace on earth a peace that was
meant to be.” We sing this song often in church, The Prayer of Saint
Francis.  My dear friend and guide,
Valerie Kelly, use to emphasize the need for more feminine energy in the world
and how much better off the world would be with a stronger female
presence.  I would hope that if we have
not moved too far away from our feminine selves, women running the world would
lead to a kinder, more nurturing place and people.  I believe most women are very protective of
the greatest product of their lives and would do all in their power to prevent
sending their children off to suffer war and perhaps to die. 

At the Not
So Big Life Workshop
, Sarah Susanka encouraged us to “run towards
those things” of which we are afraid. 
She suggested some of our greatest learning experiences would come from
not retreating from that which repels us. 
I took a deep breath and decided to continue with the church program for
which I had registered.  After eight
weeks of study, a weekend retreat was being presented and I decided to go all
the way and see what other life lessons might come my way. 

number of women who had taken the time and made the effort to attend this
event, made me realize how much need there is for women to spiritually feed
ourselves and to join forces.  I had
decided not to worry about the command to “save the world” but
instead to allow the richness of the rest of the program’s material and the
power of the women’s spirit to empower and nurture me.  Our first speaker was Theresa Davis. 

There she
stood a tiny woman perhaps in her late 70’s or early 80’s ready to share with
us the secret of leading a rich, powerful life. 
She had been with the lay ministry Madonna House for fifty seven years
and as she spoke, I felt the walls around my heart fall.  Her manner of sharing did not cause me to
erect any protective barriers. I had no resistance to her.  I just wanted to absorb all she had to
share.  It was a very unusual response
for me.  I must confess to being quite a
skeptic, always questioning but not this morning.  This morning when Theresa’s time was up, the
whole group moaned, “no, let her continue.”  She too was calling us, the women of God, to
change the world but not by ourselves, together and by allowing God to work in
and through each of us.  “Yes”
I thought, “all things are possible with God.” 

went on to say that we are all being called to become saints.  Oh, no! 
I was just getting my head around “saving the world” and now,
I need to also become a saint!  Being a
cradle Catholic I’m somewhat familiar with many of the saints and I am here to
tell you, they did not have an easy time of it. 
The saints of old were tortured and killed.  Many appeared just plain crazy, hearing the
voice of God and going off to do really weird stuff.  Our most recent saint, Mother Teresa had a
very difficult life.  The women and men
of her order only posses a few worldly items: a sari, a bucket and a thin
mattress.  Certainly, she made the world
a better place and I am in awe of her and her works but I like the comforts of
home.  I like bathing in a tub or shower
and not using a bucket and I really like my bed, and my clothes.  No, sainthood is not something I’d ever had
on my radar.  But, Theresa Davis was not
going to let me off so easily.  Her words
and her tone had already drawn me to her and now she was going to give me a few
tools to help lead me down a holier path. 
The first tool was being present to “the duty of the
moment.”  So simple, so very

The call
of every spiritual discipline I have ever studied or read about is, “be
present to the moment.”  Live
consciously!  Theresa shared that
“God is only present in the moment.” 
Then came the second step towards sainthood. She echoed Mother Teresa’s
famous saying, “Do little things with great love.”  Again, so simple and yet so very
difficult.  Finally, she extolled us to
live more simply.  The question was,
“What’s holding you back? What is the baggage you are lugging
around?”  I immediately thought this
was going in the direction of the sari, bucket and thin mattress but no, it was
way harder than that. Our “baggage” Theresa said, was our: anger,
resentments, pride, self-deceit, envy and greed.  I immediately wanted to grab that bucket and
just go with that.  This was way more
difficult.  Yes, difficult but certainly
well worth working towards.  Certainly a
project which I’m sure God would like to be involved. 

My faith
teaches that once we die and enter into heaven, we all become saints.  I think this is a good thing because while I
want to do my part to “save the world” and I’m willing to accept that
I’m being called to be a “saint,” the probability of my achieving
these feats even with God’s help seems to me quite slim.  So, on days when I’m simply trying to accept
myself as I am, I’ll know there’s great hope for me, for all of us, in the
future, in the afterlife.