Posted by: pmarkrobb | May 4, 2017

magna animi

In reading yesterday, i was reminded of words i read several years ago in the middle of a period of deep grief in our extended family.  We know one of the verses we read yesterday very well.  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity” 2 Timothy 1:7a (NLT).  We know it, but do we really believe it?

The book was entitled, Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron.  The specific words that all the same broke my heart and gave me great hope were the following:

 “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.”

In reading Paul’s words yesterday, my heart and mind returned to that exchange between the two main characters of the book.  Their words are as vivid and vital to me today as they were years ago.  A different season of burden, but the same steadfast truth.  I wonder if you need to hear them too?  Or maybe you know someone who really needs them right now.

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.  We are bombarded every day with the cares and troubles of a badly broken world; bombarded with the dull aches of “out there” sort of burdens, and the sharp pains of personal loss, temptation and trouble.  Don’t allow the world’s RSVP of pain and sorrow to create a fortress around your heart and life.  Live dangerously open my brothers and sisters.  When the clouds or enemies gather, run to the Fortress who will never fail you.  Then emerge after the storms or fighting with a heart and soul that is open for the wounded world around you “to enter and find Jesus.”

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