The readings today are clear. We must pay attention to the words of our Lord God. We must listen to Jesus, His Son.
Today is also the memorial of St. Francis of Assisi. As a young man, Francis enjoyed the pleasures of this world and did not hear the voice of God. He did not see God reflected in the image of his fellow man. Francis was about 19 when he went to war, was captured and imprisoned for a year. He was ill when released from prison and bedridden for another year. While convalescing, he read about the lives of the saints. Francis shares several characteristics with many of the saints.
After his recovery, Francis had many experiences in which he heard God’s voice. He saw God in a leper, and instead of passing, got off his horse and embraced the man with leprosy. He heard the voice of God while praying in a broken-down church, San Damiano. While before the crucifix, Francis heard God telling him, “Rebuild my church.” He went on to do so both literally and figuratively.
I believe a similar message is being spoken to us, right now, in our time. I, too, have been deaf and blind to His voice and presence. I have hardened my heart to the pain and suffering in my personal family as well as in my brothers and sisters around the world bonded through our shared humanity. I have a deep appreciation for creation, yet am I actively working to live in harmony with all other living beings and take care of our shared planetary home?
Please pray with me so that we too, can hear His voice and soften our hearts.
O most High, almighty, good Lord God, to you belong praise, glory, honor, and all blessing!
Praised be my Lord God with all creatures; and especially our brother the sun, which brings us the day, and the light; fair is he, and shining with a very great splendor: O Lord, he signifies you to us!
Praised be my Lord for our sister the moon, and for the stars, which God has set clear and lovely in heaven.
Praised be my Lord for our brother the wind, and for air and cloud, calms and all weather, by which you uphold in life all creatures.
Praised be my Lord for our sister water, which is very serviceable to us, and humble, and precious, and clean.
Praised be my Lord for brother fire, through which you give us light in the darkness: and he is bright, and pleasant, and very mighty,
Praised be my Lord for our mother the Earth, which sustains us and keeps us, and yields diverse fruits, and flowers of many colors, and grass.
Praised be my Lord for all those who pardon one another for God’s love’s sake, and who endure weakness and tribulation; blessed are they who peaceably shall endure, for you, O most High, shall give them a crown!
Praised be my Lord for our sister, the death of the body, from which no one escapes. Woe to him who dies in mortal sin! Blessed are they who are found walking by your most holy will, for the second death shall have no power to do them harm.
Praise you, and bless you the Lord, and give thanks to God, and serve God with great humility.
(St. Francis, 1182-1226)
Beth is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She brings a unique depth of experience to the group due to her time spent in education, parish ministries, sales and the service industry over the last 25 yrs. She is a practicing spiritual director as well as a Secular Franciscan (OFS). Beth is quick to offer a laugh, a prayer or smile to all she comes in contact with. Reach her here firstname.lastname@example.org.