For many people, the passion for speed has become an addiction. Our culture and society encourage this addiction; we emphasize doing instead of being, multitasking is considered a desirable skill, and we are generally more focused on quantity instead of quality in all aspects of our lives. Every modern convenience, from cell phones and computers to instant meals and microwave ovens, feeds our addiction to speed and encourages the illusion that we can do more in less time. Because our bodies are so efficient at adapting, we are often not aware of the negative impact that this fast pace of life is having on our being, which is in essence our spiritual nature.
I have always felt a deep connection to St. Francis of Assisi, the Christian saint best known for his love of nature, animals, and the poor. In the early 1980’s I lived in Holy Protection monastery, a Byzantine Eastern-Rite Franciscan monastery. This was where I was professed as a 3rd Order, Secular Franciscan.
Born at Assisi in the year 1182, St. Francis came from a wealthy family. Although he spent his early years enjoying the material benefits of wealth, he soon recognized the shallowness of his lifestyle, and renounced his inherited wealth. He chose instead a simple life of poverty, which allowed him to fully devote himself to God and his calling.