Blog Post - October 4th
S. Francis of Assisi| Video| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
St. Francis of Assisi
Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a sense of self-importance.
Serious illness brought the young Francis to see the emptiness of his frolicking life as leader of Assisi's youth. Prayer—lengthy and difficult—led him to a self-emptying like that of Christ, climaxed by embracing a leper he met on the road. It symbolized his complete obedience to what he had heard in prayer: "Francis! Everything you have loved and desired in the flesh it is your duty to despise and hate, if you wish to know my will. And when you have begun this, all that now seems sweet and lovely to you will become intolerable and bitter, but all that you used to avoid will turn itself to great sweetness and exceeding joy."
From the cross in the neglected field-chapel of San Damiano, Christ told him, "Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down." Francis became the totally poor and humble workman.
He must have suspected a deeper meaning to "build up my house." But he would have been content to be for the rest of his life the poor "nothing" man actually putting brick on brick in abandoned chapels. He gave up all his possessions, piling even his clothes before his earthly father (who was demanding restitution for Francis' "gifts" to the poor) so that he would be totally free to say, "Our Father in heaven." He was, for a time, considered to be a religious fanatic, begging from door to door when he could not get money for his work, evokng sadness or disgust to the hearts of his former friends, ridicule from the unthinking.
But genuineness will tell. A few people began to realize that this man was actually trying to be Christian. He really believed what Jesus said: "Announce the kingdom! Possess no gold or silver or copper in your purses, no traveling bag, no sandals, no staff" (Luke 9:1-3).
Francis' first rule for his followers was a collection of texts from the Gospels. He had no idea of founding an order, but once it began he protected it and accepted all the legal structures needed to support it. His devotion and loyalty to the Church were absolute and highly exemplary at a time when various movements of reform tended to break the Church's unity.
He was torn between a life devoted entirely to prayer and a life of active preaching of the Good News. He decided in favor of the latter, but always returned to solitude when he could. He wanted to be a missionary in Syria or in Africa, but was prevented by shipwreck and illness in both cases. He did try to convert the sultan of Egypt during the Fifth Crusade.
During the last years of his relatively short life (he died at 44), he was half blind and seriously ill. Two years before his death, he received the stigmata, the real and painful wounds of Christ in his hands, feet and side.
On his deathbed, he said over and over again the last addition to his Canticle of the Sun, "Be praised, O Lord, for our Sister Death." He sang Psalm 141, and at the end asked his superior to have his clothes removed when the last hour came and for permission to expire lying naked on the earth, in imitation of his Lord.
Francis of Assisi was poor only that he might be Christ-like. He recognized creation as another manifestation of the beauty of God. In 1979, he was named patron of ecology. He did great penance (apologizing to "Brother Body" later in life) that he might be totally disciplined for the will of God. His poverty had a sister, humility, by which he meant total dependence on the good God. But all this was, as it were, preliminary to the heart of his spirituality: living the gospel life, summed up in the charity of Jesus and perfectly expressed in the Eucharist.
"We adore you and we bless you, Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all the churches which are in the whole world, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world" (St. Francis).
Patron Saint of:
Pray Without Ceasing:
Maybe this idea of “praying without ceasing” is a novel one for you. Maybe the thought of offering God every moment of your day is overwhelming. But maybe you are also feeling the call to do exactly that—and you just do not know where to begin.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
(When we lack confidence in God's goodness) the soul greatly offends our heavenly Spouse, and ... our most sweet Lord deprives us of many graces, simply because the door of our heart is not thrown open with holy trust.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Five: 263-326
As we begin Notebook Five, Saint Faustina’s understanding of the Mercy of God should be more alive to you. Hopefully you have a deeper understanding of the infinite love of God and His burning desire to embrace you, free you from the burden of sin, and shower you with His grace.
It should also be clear that God is silent at times so as to strengthen you, purify you and deepen your trust in Him. God’s wisdom and His ways are beyond what we could ever imagine. He is perfect in His love and you must have full confidence in the direction He gives to your life.
As we enter into this notebook, try to believe and live all that you have read so far. It’s one thing to believe it intellectually, it’s quite another thing to believe it with your actions. You must believe in the Mercy of God with your actions. You must let all that you have read take hold of you and direct the way you live. One way to do this is to go back to any reflections that have stood out so far. If something has stood out, be it a particular reflection or a general theme, pay attention to that. The Message of Mercy is broad and all encompassing, but it’s also particular to you. Let the Lord speak directly to you revealing the specific truths that you need to embrace the most.
Reflection 277: Mercy to Dispel Tension
Tension is often a part of life. Some deal with much tension, frustration and even extreme anger in their daily lives. At first, the anger of another can set you on guard and tempt you to fear. This is a normal reaction. The anger of another can also push you to react and to fight back with anger, spite and bitterness of your own. You may get defensive and even lash out. But the Mercy of God is able to bring peace to any situation. His Mercy is bestowed when you turn a blind eye to the anger you face from another and speak as sweetly to them as you would to Jesus. Leave the wrath of God to God. If He inspires you to bring forth His holy wrath, you will know what to say and how to say it and this will be an act of His Mercy. But don’t be surprised if God inspires you to act with extraordinary kindness in such a situation. This takes great resolve and a tremendous amount of patience. Do not allow yourself to become engaged by or tangled in the irrational wrath of another. Instead, let the peace of God’s Mercy so flood your soul that, through you, His grace dispels all vice (See Diary #1377).
Reflect upon any regular situations of tension and anger you deal with. Perhaps you are the cause or perhaps you are the target. Whatever the case may be, know that God’s peace can reign. Seek His peace, keep your eyes upon it and allow this firm focus to become a source of His abundant Mercy. He loves you and wants to free you from these burdens.
Lord, I invite You into the tension in my life. First, I surrender my own frustrations and anger to You. Please free me from these unruly passions and replace them with Your peace. Help me also, dear Lord, when I face the unjust wrath of another. Keep me calm and focused upon Your Heart. Help me to react as You will and to be an instrument of Your peace. Jesus, I trust in You.