At first glance, it may seem incongruous to follow a reflection on patience with a reflection on QUICKENING. But actually, patience and its fruits - endurance, serenity, stillness, calm - actually provide the best spiritual ground for QUICKENING to flourish. What does it mean to be among the spiritually QUICKENED, to have a QUICKEN-ABLE spirit? The synonyms for QUICKENED illustrate why it is so important in the Franciscan (and the Christian) quest for virtue. Energized, motivated, fortified, galvanized, invigorated - QUICKENED souls are all of these as they strive to respond to God's grace in their lives. Revitalized, refreshed, restored - QUICKENED souls draw their strength from something greater than themselves; they allow grace to lift them up, to renew them and to propel them forward on the path of holiness.
It may seem obvious - but the QUICKENED are QUICKEN-ABLE. They are people who are open to grace, docile to divine prompting, ready to receive and respond to God's inspiration, no matter where and how it comes to them. One does not need to be naturally quick in order to be QUICKEN-ABLE. One only needs to be sensitive to the workings of grace and willing to leave self behind in order to follow the Lord wherever He leads.
St. Francis of Assisi ranks high among the QUICKENED, He was a man who, even before his conversion, was eminently QUICKEN-ABLE - moved by the plea of a beggar or the promise of greatness. For Francis, QUICKENING involved both feeling and action, He was interiorly stirred - to pity, in the case of the beggar, to chivalry, in the case of future glory. But Francis did not leave matters there. He leaped over the counter of his father's cloth shop to find the beggar who had asked him for alms for the love of God. He set out, a well-equipped, would-be knight, to do battle and gain glory. And when God showed him that "something more" was needed. Francis retraced his steps and awaited the Lord's revealing hour.
All his life, the Little Poor Man cultivated his spiritual QUICKEN-ABILITY. That is why he was able to respond so fully both to the Lord's large plan for his life - to be the founder of a great religious family - and to God's so-called "little" plans for his day-by day growth in holiness. It was in the Eucharist that Francis found the ultimate source of spiritual QUICKENING. QUICKENED by Jesus' Real Presence, nourished by the Bread of Life, he was ever refreshed, restored and renewed for more energetic and invigorated responses to God's call in his life - whether it was to preach the Gospel to the Sultan, to give his tunic to a beggar or to console a struggling friar.
Francis knew that if we are not QUICKENED by Jesus, we only too quickly fall prey to spiritual sluggishness and the ever-ready onslaughts of temptation. It is a lesson he wishes us to learn - as soon as possible - so that we too might be counted among the QUICKENED who have the interior quiet needed to hear the still, small voice of God and the quickness to rise up in ready responding to that call. For the
QUICKENED, every invitation to love, to service,
to self-sacrifice and to prayer, each summons to do good, to uphold the truth and to witness to God's mercy is a response to One who ceaselessly calls out: Make haste, My beloved, and come! Let us go - quickly!