Three familiar Franciscans gave an eye-opening talk on the necessity of the Franciscan spiritual life on Monday night at 9 p.m. in the Gentile Gallery.
Speakers the Rev. Nathan Malavolti, TOR, Sister Maria Pio Wiggins, TOR, and the Rev. Rick Martignetti, OFM, emphasized that we all experience a crisis of identity at least once in our lives in which we must learn to trust God and learn how to live an authentically Franciscan spiritual life.
Each of the speakers highlighted that the one way in which the audience could learn to live out this Franciscan Spirituality is by dying to self every day. The most basic vocation is to live a morally good life and to love others as Christ loves us, and that requires death to self, they said. Wiggins described it as “dying of my own will,” and went on to explain how there is a “death behind every vocation.”
Malavolti explained how his call came in the midst of a crisis just as St. Francis’s call did. After the loss of his brother, he said that it made him, “take a step back and ask questions.” Questions such as: What gives a person purpose in life? Who are we? What are we here for? We are all involved in the struggle to find our own identity.
Wiggins struggled with her identity in her college years after losing both her parents within a few years of each other. She explained how she asked the question of, “Why God, why?!” and shared that it was through the power of the Eucharist that she was able to heal and find her identity in Christ.
“The way the Eucharist saved St. Clare saved me,” explained Wiggins, who went on to explain how the Eucharist is necessary in order to live this life of spirituality.
Martignetti shared that he was 20 years old when his father died. He said he was pushed out of childhood and into adulthood. “Who is my father?” he asked. He came to understand that everyone experiences what he called “moments of truth” where everyone has to make a bold statement to follow God as father.
The secret, according to Malavolti, Wiggins and Martignetti, is dying to self a little bit each day and learning to let go of everything that is holding us back from becoming the person God called us to be.