Posted by: pmarkrobb | September 26, 2013

a magna animi

I love to read.  I’ll admit that I don’t read very fast, and I mostly read to learn (maybe some of you can relate).  But recently, I’ve made a conscious effort to read “for fun.”  I assumed it would be difficult to find fiction that drew me closer to God, but He has been so good in directing my choices.  My most recent is a book titled, Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron.  My purpose here is not to make a book recommendation, but rather to share a bit of challenge and encouragement I found amidst its pages.

The past two weeks have been very difficult for my extended family.  I have wanted so badly to be a support, and found my own words so lacking.  As I read the passage I’ve included below, I took personal challenge and encouragement from it, but was also motivated to share it with a cousin who is more like a sister to me.  In the days that have followed, the Spirit has suggested that there might be value in sharing it with you.  I share the following dialog between two main characters from Chasing Francis, and, with her permission, some brief sentences I wrote to my cousin.

 “Aquinas spoke about two kinds of souls — the magna animi and the pusilla animi.  The magna animi is the open soul that has space for the world to enter and find Jesus.  It’s where you get the word magnanimous.  The pusilla animi is like that.”  He pointed at the dark outline of the Rocca Maggiore far up on the hillside, the fortress where the people of Assisi used to run when they were attacked by a neighboring city.
     “The pusilla animi is the defended heart.  It’s a guarded and suspicious spirit that is closed to the world.  It sees everything and everyone as a potential threat, an enemy waiting to attack.  It shields itself from the world.  It’s where you get the word –“

     “Pusillanimous,” I said.  “Someone who is fearful.”

To my cousin, I wrote…

I do not only mean to encourage you with the truth that I see you as primarily possessing a magna soul, but also with the truth that you can be driven to pusilla by a “world” that returns pain and sorrow.  …  Continue to live dangerously open, my sweet sister!  It is His design for your life, and it is where you draw people to Him.

I wonder if it was you also, who those words were intended for.  Or maybe you know someone in your own life that really needs to hear them.  If it’s the former, praise God, and take heart!  If it’s the latter, praise God and don’t hesitate, even for a second, before forwarding them on!

An “open soul that has space for the world to enter and find Jesus.”  I so firmly believe that is what God desires for us … a magna animi.  Don’t allow the world’s RSVP of pain and sorrow to create a fortress around your heart.  Live dangerously open my brothers and sisters, and allow the world to enter and find Jesus.



  1. Thanks

  2. Wow! I’m reading Chasing Francis and I looked up magna animi and found your blog. The Lord is really ministering to me through this book. Thank you for your words as well.
    Brother Rod

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