Mark, you are just like Francis!
You are meant to be a Franciscan!
I used to get this a lot before I joined Religious Life. Many people in my parish saw me as energetic & joyful, and presumed that I must be so much like St Francis. Of course they were not aware that almost all the Saints, even the not Franciscan ones were joyful. I am an Augustinian now, and I have talked extensively on relationship to Augustine. So I thought I would share some of the foibles of not being a Franciscan.
Francis was raised by a cloth merchant father, who I imagine was always ostentatiously dressed. Francis, I imagine, wanted something a little more rustic, in the wildnerness, something more simple. I usually picture him as your typical incredibly masculine man clumsy with all the elitist proprieties imposed upon him by his father, less like the glorified flower child depiction we’ve inherited as of late. So in some regards I have a special devotion to a Francis that is not very common. My own father, having attended a Franciscan minor seminary persisted with a touch of Franciscan Spirituality my whole life, and communes with the animals.
As I was involved in youth ministry, I was getting that sort of comment. I looked myself, and there was just so much of Francis that didn’t touch me. Conversely, I noticed when I read Augustine I came alive. When I read Francis, or about him, I felt nothing. My dad was still scratching his head why I didn’t become Franciscan, (As if it was the default thing to do, the default Order for me was always Benedictines. I know many awesome Franciscan Sisters & Friars today, and I’m sure that I could find something enjoyable about it, but I was never called.
To this day, I’ve gotten comments from people presuming that I am frolicking around in a brown habit of some sort. (The Augustinian Habit is black, I may post something about it on my other Augustinian blog soon) There are plenty of Catholic types out there who want to say something clever like, “Oh that must be a sign!” That’s cute, but I found where I belong, and pray that you who discern may find where you belong. That’s why, if you haven’t read it, you might enjoy my personal story of friendship with Augustine, so that I don’t clog this post anymore.