Admonition: 12- Of Knowing the Spirit of God 1
Thus may the servant of God know if he has the Spirit of God: if when the Lord works some good through him, his body—since it is ever at variance with all that is good—is not therefore puffed up; but if he rather becomes viler in his own sight and if he esteems himself less than other men.2
An example of the sort of dichotomy that existed both during the time of the early Church as per the writings of St. Paul and that in part, exists today: – of the evilness or sinfulness of the Flesh or body and the purity or potential purity of the Spirit. Regard the previous Admonition in which Francis refers to the Body as the Enemy within our power.
Do we know we are filled with the Holy Spirit if our Body is not puffed up? How do we translate this in words we may understand.
Do I know that I am filled with the Holy Spirit when I am not pleased with myself but rather realise how all the more undeserving of the Mercy of God I am and how others may be more deserving than I am?
What we ae speaking about in terms of today are our thoughts and psychological responses to Spiritual Things.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit gives us a realistic view of ourselves in the scheme of things. The Spirit enlightens us regarding the things of God and we understand our place in the macrocosm a little more clearly and see the minuteness of us. We see our unworthiness but let us not go too far down the path of self- depreciation – because God loves us and chose us for ourselves not because we are lesser mortals than whomever but because we are us.
As the Father of a Religious Community, naturally Francis is stressing the importance of humility, and in this case the practising of the Presence of God. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit we strive to become Christlike, to walk in His ways, to keep time with the Father.
But what of those in today’s world who suffer dis-ease of mind whose enemy within their power is not the flesh but the Psyche? Overthrowing the Ego is lifetime’s Journey yet for those who are tortured by fractured minds coming to what they may regard as Spiritual perfection may cause more difficulties than some can ever dream of.
Some say that St. Francis was a Mad Man and one of the reasons I became a Franciscans was because he heard a Crucifix Speak to him though many less Holy things have spoken to me.
- 1.Saint Francis of Assisi, The Writings of Saint Francis of Assisi, newly translated into English with an Introduction and Notes by Father Paschal Robinson (Philadelphia: The Dolphin Press, 1906). 19/09/2015. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/1172#StFrancis_0535_60
- 2. Cod O and Is. read “If therefore his body is puffed up, he has not the Spirit of God. If, however, he becomes rather viler in his own sight, then he truly has the Spirit of God.”