By Br. Joseph Powell, OFM
It’s good for the sun to be out. Aside from the banal reason that things tend to freeze over and die without the sun, it’s just good to have that boundless ball of energy alive in the sky. Life pours from the sun like water from a hydrant. It is the original source of blessing — the bright and blazing sign that earth receives all good things as a gift. Every society has honored the sun, given it a name, recognized the divine blessing it signifies.
The Egyptians worshiped the sun god Ra, bearer of life; the Greeks honored Apollo, driver of the sun’s golden chariot and giver of wisdom and culture; St. Francis praised Sir Brother Sun who was the image of the Most High. I’m not ancient Egyptian, but I am definitely Franciscan. To me, a bright sun in a clear sky witnesses the benevolence of God: “He who lets his sun shine on the good and the wicked . . .
The sun was out for my Solemn Profession of vows. When I left the parking lot of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Derry, the sky was an ominous grey, but as my car neared Boston the yellow rays pushed persistently through. By the time we gathered in Waltham for the ceremony the good old orb was blazing away, doing its thing, cradling us and everything else in its life-giving fingers from ninety-three thousand miles away. A sign of blessings on a day of blessings. It’s easy to imagine Francis of Assisi basking in the warmth of such a sun and praising the Lord for all His good gifts, all His blessings — especially the blessing of the gift of faith.
That image of Francis strikes me strongly as I think on my Profession day. It was, again, a day of blessings: beautiful sun, music (three choirs! gosh.), surrounded by family and friends and friars. There were nieces and nephews two-by-two, and a Noah’s ark of brown-robed Franciscans. And as we all celebrated this special moment, I thought back to the words of a friar from the day before: “Remember this is not just your day — it is our day. We all participate in this.” How true that is! We all participate in whatever good which comes from each other’s life. God’s sun pours out its gifts to all. And what greater gift than faith to believe in the One who loves so indiscriminately, so vastly, so generously?
A Solemn Profession is more than a profession of vows. It is a profession of faith — and not by one person only, but by the whole community. We believe in
the Good God who gives us all that we have: life, family, friends, and all the rest of it. We believe that this God continues to bless us. We believe that He calls each of us forth, to belong to one another, and to bind ourselves to one another and to Him.
“Praise be You, My Lord, for all Your creatures, especially my Lord Sir Brother Sun, Who is the day through whom you give us light. And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor. Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.”
Br. Joseph is an occassional blogger at The Blue Wilderness