Yesterday, as I was searching around the house looking for something else, I found this:
My Tau, so many good memories...
Tau is a Greek letter, equivalent to T in Latin, and it's also a Franciscan symbol. According to an explanation I heard once and really liked, being one of the last letters of the alphabet, Tau symbolizes the spirit of simplicity and service to others that St. Francis of Assisi had.
My friend Bárbara was telling me the other day that deep down, all religions and spiritual teachings end up taking us to the same truths, which we can arrive at through many different paths… In my particular case, I grew up in a Catholic environment; that's my family tradition and a big portion of my social background, so it was through Catholicism that I took my first steps in the journey of spirituality.
Between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, I attended a school run by Franciscan friars, and I have very special memories of the religious celebrations, prayer groups, retreats and pilgrimages I participated in with them, also later on during my college years. Above all, I loved the feeling of joy and peace that the friars conveyed, their spirit of prayer and service, and their willingness to roll up their sleeves and lend a helping hand for whatever it was that needed to be done.
Then as years went by, I started leaning more towards secular spirituality, which is where I am nowadays, but I'm totally convinced that the background is really the same, the Spirit is really the same, only with a different name. And I can't help thinking that for example the mantras and meditations that are practiced in yoga very closely resemble the meditative chants at those Easter celebrations in the convent of El Palancar.
Today I want to share with you a couple of pearls of wisdom from St Francis. First, a prayer that to me is as simple as it is beautiful:
Señor, haz de mí un instrumento de tu paz. Donde haya odio, ponga yo amor, Donde haya ofensa, ponga yo perdón, Donde haya discordia, ponga yo armonía, Donde haya error, ponga yo verdad, Donde haya duda, ponga yo la fe, Donde haya desesperación, ponga yo esperanza, Donde haya tinieblas, ponga yo la luz, Donde haya tristeza, ponga yo alegría. Maestro, que no me empeñe tanto en ser consolado como en consolar, En ser comprendido como en comprender, En ser amado como en amar Porque dando se recibe, Olvidando se encuentra, Perdonando se es perdonado, Y muriendo se resucita a la Vida Eterna.
And second, a phrase I discovered recently that is also attributed to him: