Updated: Feb 5
"You see this cat Shaft is a bad mother (Shut your mouth)
But I'm talkin' about Shaft (Then we can dig it)"
The lyrics are from the Shaft theme song, written and performed by the late Issac Hayes. Check out the music here.
I cannot help but hear the iconic music and lyrical line as I read about today's saint, whom has great personal significance.
You guessed it. Francis de Sales.
And when I think of Francis, Issac's lyrics start churning in my head and I think that Francis is a bad mother... and then I gotta shut my mouth.
It took me years to appreciate how amazing this cat was (70's terminology). He was a true spiritual bad donkey. This guy was on fire, zealous, intellectual, charming, and worked tirelessly to be the person God created him to be.
And like Shaft, he delivered.
What makes Francis my favorite Spiritual Action Hero is that he is a Doctor of the Church. Which is a huge honor that says he wrote some really deep stuff that has influenced Church thought and had a particular spirituality that affected the Church. Of course what they wrote is not considered "infallible" however it is considered influential.
So my fascination with Francis started with a quote that someone gave me 30 years ago:
"Nothing so strong as Gentleness,
Nothing so gentle as true strength."
At the time of my receiving this quote, he author was unknown, but when the age of the internet hit, I started researching who said this, and voila! It is attributed to Francis! Which of course, increased my curiosity as to what kind of man would say something so profound.
Come to find out he said a ton of things which ironically, spoke to my particular existential situation at that time. He said:
Be who you are and be that well.
Have patience with all things, But, first of all with yourself.
Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.
Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.
Francis's words call to me to go inward and find that man that God created and bring him out to the world. It's a continuous discovery, scary, exciting, curious, hopeful...and lifelong.
Those words force me to look at how compassionate I am with myself, my shortcomings, my perceived flaws.
They make me sit and reflect on what annoys me with others and challenges me to find peace in that situation; which often points to an area where I need to grow.
Francis is one bad... because he is the Action Hero of the interior life. He is the one battling within to bring out the man God created him to be. And he is kicking butt and taking names.
So today, take a moment and think about which Saint is your Shaft. Gotta go...I hear the music playing. Can you dig it?