Don’t Soak the Beans ‘til Tomorrow

Mirror of Perfection - Chapter 19 - How he did not wish the friars to be provident and anxious for tomorrow.

"He therefore forbade the friar who cooked for the brethren to put dried beans into warm water in the evening, as is usual, when he intended to give them to the friars to eat on the following day. This was in order to observe the saying of the holy Gospel, "Do not fret over tomorrow".


While the manner of soaking beans is unimportant, the awareness of the providence of God is vital to a life in union with Him. Francis knew this, and as the guide for his Lesser Brethren he was inspired to train them.

Some of us feel the need to have much of the future well planned. Since God doesn't reveal our future we take matters into our own hands. To some extent this is one aspect of the virtue of prudence. But as we expend excessive time and energy for the future we take away from the present with its own inspirations and demands. We can become as time travelers venturing off to the land of our future fears and anxieties; distracted from God's love and care for us right now.

Shortly before writing this I began reading a book on reconciliation and healing. In the first few pages was posed a certain reflection: Do I question God's providence - mistrust him - doubt him? When phrased like this it does point to the heart of the matter, namely: How much does God really care for me? How actively and attentively is He involved in my life?

One factor which will determine our response is the amount of time spent in prayer. Considering that prayer is communication with God, we might inquire, what level of dialogue is going on? For example, if my adult children are living in another city I might hear from them often, over the phone, pouring a weeks activity into a half hour chat. On the other hand, they might be estranged from my life, in which case I only hear of them through others or when they're really desperate for help. Communicating with God implies trusting Him.

If my trust in God's providence is lacking, this calls for healing. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the privileged place to bring this wound. The Triune God who creates and sustains...provides. Materially, He provides according to our needs; and spiritually, full measure flowing over.

The essence of love is in the desiring of what is good for the other, the beloved. Trusting in that love; assured of its performance without slack or fault is the greatest sign of faith. It's always refreshing, sometimes surprising and ever delightful to have God provide. This is what Francis wanted the friars (and all his followers) to experience. So then…don't soak the beans 'til tomorrow!

Prayer: Father, how wonderful your care for us!

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