“The only tragedy in life is not to be saint.” – Léon Bloy
At this year’s Lenten Recollection, Fr. Robert Manansala, OFM delivered a stirring reminder of the message of Pope Francis and how we can each internalize the Holy Father’s teachings. The message he focused on was Francis’ call to use the threefold human language of the mind, the heart and the hands. As Christians, we need to be able to strike this threefold balance in order to authentically live out our calling.
Fr. Robert starts out by saying that the wisdom of Pope Francis is as ancient as the Church itself. According to our Lord, the greatest command is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Lk 10:27) In that statement, we can already see the idea of the necessity of the mind, the heart and the hands – to think, to feel and to do.
But how are we supposed to apply this pattern of “think – feel – do” to our lives? Fr. Robert suggests that we can understand this from the background of Pope Francis as a Jesuit – rooted in the teachings of St. Ignatius on discernment. In his writings, Ignatius emphasized the necessity of these three faculties in order to effectively carry out the will of God.
The first step is to think: In other words, to use our intellect to understand the situation that is presented before us. To consider all the possibilities, the risks, the benefits, the consequences all one or more situations.
Thinking is not enough though, we are also called to feel. In this step Ignatius says that we are to pay attention to the stirrings in our heart. He believes that God can speak to us through the deep emotions we feel. If thinking about a situation fills us with consolation, then it may be that is what God desires for us as well.
The final step is to act! Ignatius with his military background was a man of action, and he applied this to the spiritual life as well.
It is not enough to strategize and plan all day. As in battle, there must necessarily come a time for execution. Once we have considered the possibilities and reflected on our inner stirrings, we are to act – trusting that we are responding to the will of God.