Growing In Relationship With The Author of Life

The following is a reflection by Friar Wayne Mulei who is making his Solemn Profession of vows on Friday, August 2nd.

Will Frodo ever find Tolkien? As I have been approaching the date of when I will, by God’s grace, profess solemn vows I have been mulling over the notion of God being the Author of Life. All authors know their characters through and through. They know what makes them tick. J.R.R. Tolkien knows all about Frodo Baggins. Tolkien knows what would make Frodo happiest, his likes and dislikes, even what his innermost thoughts and feelings would be. One could even say that Frodo was “born” in the mind of Tolkien. Now say that Tolkien had the ability to give his characters free-will, and then he could just sit back and watch them live out their lives. If Tolkien could give his characters free-will then it seems that it would be possible that he would be able to put within each character the desire to find him. Furthermore, Tolkien could send his character’s assistance to help them on their journeys. Obviously, no matter how far and wide Frodo journeyed he would never bump into Tolkien. How much more exciting is reality than fiction! For we have the opportunity to get to know our Creator and have a relationship with Him. It is fun to think over all the implications of the reality of God as the Author of Life. We are all characters in this grand story of existence. Each of us goes on adventures of our lifetime to find our Creator and have a relationship with Him. God so loves His creation that He sent His Son Jesus as the exemplar and model for us to follow, and show us the way back to Him. The great Saints, like Francis and Clare, are examples of people who followed Jesus and developed a close relationship with the Author of Life. If Francis and Clare became great Saints, why can’t we? We can learn much from studying the lives of the great Saints.

As a young man, Francis dreamed of becoming a great knight. Francis did become a great knight, but not in the way he might have originally imagined. Francis is known by some scholars as “the crucified knight”. In the first chapter of St Bonaventure’s biography of St Francis, he writes of a dream that Francis had. In the dream, God showed him a palace that, “was filled with arms and military ensigns, all marked with the Cross of Christ”. Francis was then told that these things were, “for him and for his soldiers”. Francis would come to learn that his “knighthood” was not to be a physical one, but a spiritual one, as all Christians are called to be “soldiers of Christ” (2Tim 2:3). Knights live by code; similarly, Franciscans live by a Rule and take vows to help them live by that Rule. Knights are often outfitted with armor and weapons to carry into battle. All Christians are called to put on the full “armor of God” (Eph 6:11-13). Knights would look to the heroes of the past for inspiration of glory. Disciples of Christ look to Jesus, who was in the “form of God”,  yet took the “form of a slave”, and because of his great love for humanity accepted a crucified death on a cross (Phil 2: 6-11)). The goal of every friar is to walk in the footsteps of Jesus in the model of St Francis. Those who follow the way of St Francis, strive to make God’s truth, beauty, and goodness visibly present in the world through lives of faith, hope and charity. Francis followed Christ so closely that his flesh was pierced with the marks of the crucifixion.  Francis, the crucified knight, has had many fellow soldiers of Christ follow his example; yet at the end of his life Francis told his friars that “I have done my part; may Christ teach you to do yours”. I feel Christ has shown me my part: become a Franciscan friar. Therefore I look forward to professing solemn vows and with my fellow friars and continue on this grand adventure. That we, like St Francis, might grow in relationship with the Author of Life.

By: Friar Wayne Mulei OFM CONV.

1. Pella, Michael, OFM. The Crucified Knight: The Spiritual Odyssey of St. Francis. (Phoenix, AZ: Tan Publishing. 2015).
2. St. Bonaventure. The Life of St Francis of Assisi. ( Phoenix, AZ: Tan Publishing. 2010).
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid. 117.