THURSDAY THE FOURTH OF OCTOBER, 2018
* Francis of Assisi *
Most High, glorious God, enlighten the shadows of my heart and grant me a right faith, a certain hope and perfect charity, sense and understanding, Lord, so that I may accomplish your holy and true command. Amen.
( Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226 )
Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
yours are the praises, the glory, the honour,
and all blessing.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendour.
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Moon
and the stars, in heaven you formed them
clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene,
and every kind of weather through which
you give sustenance to your creatures.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night and he is beautiful
and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains us and governs us and who produces
varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.
Praised be you, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by you, Most High, they shall be crowned.
Praised be you, my Lord,
through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.
woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will
find in your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord,
and give him thanks
and serve him with great humility
( Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226 )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Francis of Assisi: Does anyone really know who you are?
Today Saint Laika’s remembers Francis of Assisi, a twelfth-century beggar and visionary who has been appropriated in more modern times by (take your pick) the hippies, environmentalists, pet-lovers. The challenge today is to discover who Francis was, and what motivated his outstanding devotion to God.
We know Francis was born to a wealthy family of silk merchants in 1182. We know his early years were spent in revelry and vain attempts to win military glory. Less certain is the reason for his change of heart and his spiritual fervour. Some say it was his fear of engaging in battle, some say it was a severe illness, others still that he had been taken prisoner in one of his military excursions and spent a year in captivity.
By the year 1205, he had pretty much abandoned his former way of life and his wealthy, fun-seeking friends. He began to speak of “Lady Poverty.”
He said he had a mystical vision of Jesus Christ in the country chapel of San Damiano, just outside of Assisi, in which an icon of Christ Crucified said to him, “Francis, Francis, go and repair my house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins.” At first he understood that in a literal way, and began to repair the church of San Damiano. Later he would interpret the vision as a call to bring the entire church to renewal and repentance.
He heard a sermon sometime in 1209 on “Matthew,” chapter ten, verse nine, in which Christ tells his followers they should go forth and proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven was upon them, that they should take no money with them, nor even a walking stick or shoes for the road.
He was determined to form a group of men into a “mendicant” order. Unlike monks, who supported themselves by farming or teaching, Francis’ friars begged for their food and lived in poverty. They were officially recognised by Pope Innocent III. Also in 1209 an order of nuns was begun who also followed the rule of Francis, known initially as the Poor Ladies, and later, the Poor Clares, after their founder Clare of Assisi.
As the years went on, Francis took less day-to-day responsibility for the administration of his “little brothers.” as they were called. Even during his lifetime, they relaxed the strictness of his rule. His intense personal piety expressed itself in joy, even in the midst of great suffering. His love of the earth and of all creation stands as a call to mission in these days when the earth has been ravaged by pollution and greenhouse gasses. Francis died in 1226AD
Scripture. In the sixth chapter of “Galatians,” at the fourteenth verse, we read:
May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
… for peace in the world.
… for the world and all its creatures.
… for Franciscans throughout the world.
… for ecologists, merchants, animal welfare workers, those who campaign against cruelty to animals and all people, places and institutions which claim Francis of Assisi as their patron.
… for the people of Lesotho who celebrate their national day today.
… for those mourning the death of loved ones killed by the tsunami that engulfed the city of Palu on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia; for those whose loved ones are still missing.
… for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
… for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
… for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
… for ourselves.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
From a letter from Francis of Assisi to all the faithful:
It was through his archangel, Saint Gabriel, that the Father above made known to the holy and glorious Virgin Mary that the worthy, holy and glorious Word of the Father would come from heaven and take from her womb the real flesh of our human frailty. Though he was wealthy beyond reckoning, he still willingly chose to be poor with his blessed mother. And shortly before his passion he celebrated the Passover with his disciples.
Then he prayed to his Father saying, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup be taken from me.”
Nevertheless, he reposed his will in the will of his Father. The Father willed that his blessed and glorious son, whom he gave to us and who was born for us, should through his own blood offer himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross. This was to be done not for himself through whom all things were made, but for our sins. It was intended to leave us an example of how to follow in his footsteps. And he desires all of us to be saved through him, and to receive him with pure heart and chaste body.
O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord himself said in the gospel, “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul; and your neighbour as yourself.”
Therefore, let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind.
This is his particular desire when he says, “True worshippers adore the Father in spirit and truth.”
For all who adore him must do so in the spirit of truth.
Let us also direct to him our praises and prayers saying, “Our Father, who art in heaven,” since we must always pray and never grow slack.
Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neighbours as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father’s children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Most high, omnipotent and good Lord, grant your people grace gladly to renounce the vanities of this world that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in your whole creation with perfect joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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