transformation

Gracious God,
You call us daily to transformation.
We are always on the way.
We know that we never fully actualize our true potential.
Continue to stir our hearts with a desire
to become fully human and alive
so that the world will be a better place
by our passion to be more than we are.

This prayer captures a fundamental truth of who we are as human beings.  Each of us possesses the capacity to grow, to be transformed, to create or to destroy.  As Christians we believe that we are creatures who are made in the image and likeness of God.  As co-creators with God, we have a natural inclination to seek growth, to make something out of our life, to be generative and to make a difference through our relationships with others and our world.   Whenever we take a creative pause to reflect on what life is all about, we immediately discover that life is not a static reality but a dynamic one of transformation.   For example, our human growth from being a baby to becoming an adult underscores this process of ongoing transformation from a biological point of view.

Quincy University invites students, faculty and staff into a process of ongoing transformation.  As a Franciscan school of higher learning, we seek to empower each other to strive to live life to the full, to have a sense of wonder and awe, and to cultivate an openness and receptivity to encounter new people, viewpoints, perspectives, ways of being, doing and living.  For this to happen one must then be willing to take a risk and to leave one’s comfort zone for transformation to occur.

The story of St. Francis of Assisi’s encounter with a leper expresses well how one can be transformed by another human being.  As a youth and a young man the sight of lepers nauseated him and he found them repulsive.  While riding his horse through the countryside one day, he encountered a leper.  His initial reaction was to ride away from the leper, as he had often done in the past.  However, on this occasion he chose to face his fear of lepers.  He dismounted his horse and went up to the leper, deposited coins in the leper’s hand and embraced him.  This experience radically transformed his life.  In his Testament St. Francis writes:

“The Lord gave me, Brother Francis, thus to begin doing penance  (to live a life of transformation) in this way: for when I was in sin (ignorance), it seemed too bitter for me to see lepers.  And the Lord Himself led me among them and I showed mercy to them. And when I left them, what had seemed bitter to me was turned into sweetness of soul and body.”

St. Francis, for the first time, saw his brother and sister in the leper and those of his time who lived on the fringe of society in the 13th Century. If St. Francis had not taken the risk to step out of his comfort zone and to be receptive to the possibility of being changed through the encounter, he would never actualized his potential to see everyone and all that exists as his brother and sister who deserves respect and to be treated with dignity.

Quincy University offers the environment and the opportunities, inside and outside the classroom, for intellectual, spiritual, emotional and social transformation.  As a Franciscan  Institution, Quincy University believes that every person is a special reflection of God’s goodness and beauty in the world.  Each of us then spends our life discovering and becoming that special gift and blessing, while we accompany others on the same journey.  This self- actualization comes only through ongoing transformation.  It is the hope and prayer of the University Community that each of us never loses the thirst and the desire to want to live life to the full, to be touched and to be possibility changed and enriched by ones daily life experience.  Without ongoing transformation life becomes stagnate and lifeless.  God created us for transformation so that we never stop entering into the mystery of life.  Quincy University is definitely about cultivating a transformative life.

May God’s transforming grace always and everywhere recreate us anew,
now and forever.
Amen.

Fr. John Doctor, O.F.M.
Vice President for Mission and Ministry