WE always wish we could settle down. We would like to live quietly, and be more or less able to foresee the morrow. At heart we all have the nature of the gentleman of leisure, the orderly person who retires from business and establishes himself in the country, that his days may flow happily by, divided between his wife and his garden.
The New Testament does not see life thus. To the good bourgeois who rubs his hands together and says to his soul: "Take thine ease, thou hast much goods laid up for many years," it answers, "Thou fool!" It forbids taking thought for the morrow; it teaches: "Here we have no continuing city." It wants us to be like the patriarchs: nomads, always pulling up stakes and hailing from afar the promised land.
"Strangers and pilgrims"—this was the motto of the companions of St. Francis. In the beginning they never accepted any fixed domicile, nor even provisions for two days. They had discovered that the comfort of the body takes away the joy of the soul, and that a free wanderer is much happier than a bourgeois.
Jesus desired that one should be without attachments, encumbered neither with baggage nor with human affections, and they were, absolutely: ready to leave for no matter where, no matter when, on receipt of a simple order, and without looking back.
In each one of them, as in all those he touches, the Master rebuked the man who seeks to settle down, at the same time that he called into existence the citizen of Heaven, the joyous vagrant who sings on the road, carrying all his treasure in the fire of his heart.