2015 - "Three Little Words" by Terry Ferguson
The Fruit of the Spirit
2016 - "Through the Year with Francis of Assisi"
by Murray Bodo
2017 - Thanks-Living

Monday, October 31, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 31

Let Us Begin

"Though St. Francis had to moderate his early rigor because of his illness, he continued to say:  'My brothers and sisters, let us begin to serve the Lord God, for up till now we have done little, or nothing.'" --Celano, First Life, 103

There is always more that can be done for the Lord.  We must never "rest on our laurels" when it comes to serving God.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 30

Words of Life

"Let us cling to the words, the life, the teaching, and the Holy Gospel of him who humbled himself to petition his Father for us and make his name known to us, saying, 'Father, glorify your name!' (Jn 12:28) and 'glorify your Son so that your Son may glorify you' (Jn 17:1).  Father, 'I have revealed your name to those whom you took from the world to give me' (Jn 17:6).  'I have given them the teaching you gave to me, and they have indeed accepted it and know for certain that I came from you, and have believed that it was you who sent me' (Jn 17:8)."  --St. Francis, Rule of 1221, Chapter XXII

Most of scripture is man speaking to or about God or His Son.  When God or Jesus are quoted I am most comforted.  What we do not seem to grasp often times is that the Holy Spirit is speaking to us constantly.  We will hear Him in our spirit if we would but quiet our own thoughts long enough to hear His.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 29

St. Francis's Description of the Death of the Unrepentant

"So let everyone know, whoever you are and wherever you die in mortal sin without satisfaction, when you could have made it but did not, that the devil snatches away your soul from your body with an anguish and suffering so great that no one can know who hasn't experienced it.  And all the talent and power and knowledge and wisdom that you thought you had will be taken away.  And your relatives and friends take their inheritance and divide it and say, "Cursed be his soul because he could have given us more and acquired more than he did.'  Then the worms begin eating your body.  And thus you lose soul and body in this brief life and you go to hell where you will be tormented forever.  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen."  --St. Francis, Letter to All the Faithful, Second Version

Francis writes, "And all the talent and power and knowledge and wisdom that you thought you had will be taken away."  We must be careful to be ever mindful that all that we possess--including our abilities and knowledge--are ours only temporarily.  What really counts is our soul.  Is is right with God?

Friday, October 28, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 28

St. Francis's Description of the Death of the Unrepentant

"You think that the vanity of this world will be yours for a long time, but you are deceiving yourself; for there will come the day and the hour that you don't think about and don't know about and ignore.  Sickness arrives, death draws near, relatives and friends come and say:  Put your affairs in order.  And then wife and children, relatives and friends pretend to weep.  Your eyes move from face to face; and when you see their tears, you are moved by a foolish impulse and say, 'Hear me!  My soul, my body, everything I own, I place in your hands.'  Truly then are you cursed who have entrusted and exposed soul and body and all that you have into such hands.  Of you the Lord says through his prophet, 'Accursed be anyone who trusts in human beings' (Jr 17:5).  For immediately they summon the priest, and the priest says to you, 'Do you wish to make satisfaction, as far as you can, from your own means for your faults and for what you have gained by fraud and by deceiving others?'  And you say, 'No.'  And the priest says, 'Why not?'  'Because I have put everything in the hands of my relatives and friends.'  Then your words begin to fade out, and you die a miserable person. . . ."  --St. Francis, Letter to All the Faithful, Second Version

Francis continues his letter in tomorrow's reading.  What he is trying to show us is what death is like for those who have not repented and placed their life--and death--in God's hand.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 27

A Well-Ordered Death

"Once when Francis had returned from overseas, he went to preach in Celano, and a knight there invited him to dinner.  So Francis and his companions went to the knight's home and were received with great joy by the whole family.  Then, before they began to eat, the man of God, his eyes lifted heavenward, as was his custom, offered praise to God.  But when he finished his prayer, he called his good host aside and said, "Brother Host, at your insistence I've come to eat in your home.  Now at my insistence please do what I ask, because you are not going to eat here this evening, but somewhere else.  Therefore confess your sins immediately, with true contrition and repentance; and do not hide anything, but tell all with sincere sorrow.  You see, the Lord is going to reward you for giving such hospitality to his little ones."  The knight then did as Francis had asked, and confessed all his sins to one of the brothers who was a priest.  He put all his affairs in order and prepared to the best of his ability to meet death.  Then they all went in to dinner, and just as they began eating, the host suddenly collapsed and died, as the saint had foretold.  And so the knight merited to receive a prophet's reward because he hd accorded hospitality to a prophet.  That is, because of St. Francis's prophecy, the knight had repented, thereby arming himself for death and escaping eternal damnation.  Instead, he was received into the eternal dwelling-places."  --St. Bonaventure, Major Life, 11:4

Lord, may I be as sensitive and obedient to your leading as Francis was!  Amen

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 26

St. Francis Addresses Political Leaders

"Pause and reflect, for the day of death draws near.  Accordingly, I beg you as respectfully as possible, do not let your cares and preoccupations with the world make you forget the Lord or turn aside from his commandments.  For all those who forget him and turn away from his commands are cursed; they will be completely forgotten by him.  And when the day of death does come, what you think you possess will be taken from you.  And the more clever and powerful you have been in the world, so much greater will be the punishments of hell that you will have to endure."  --St. Francis, Letter to the Rulers of the People

It would seem to me there would be a conflict for a Christian to hold a position that required them to make or uphold laws that went against their conscience.  But so much of the Christian community do not see a conflict and hope they can legislate morality and Christian principles when their aim should be to change hearts, which only Christ can do.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 25

Against False Security

"When you are too sure of yourself, you are less on guard against the enemy.  Be alert, therefore, for the devil, who, if he can claim even one hair of your head, will lose no time in making a braid of it."  --St. Bonaventure, Major Life, 5:5

The devil who "prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour!"  We must never let down our guard to self-righteousness.  It is an open door to Satan.

Monday, October 24, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 24

On Those Who Preach Repentance

"Have no fear of being thought insignificant or unbalanced, but preach repentance with courage and simplicity.  Have faith in the Lord, who has overcome the world.  His Spirit speaks in you and through you, calling men and women to turn to him and observe his precepts.  You will encounter some who are faithful, meek, and well disposed; they will joyfully receive you and your words.  But there will be more who are skeptical, proud, and blasphemous, and who will insult you and resist your message.  Prepare ourselves, therefore, to bear everything with patience and humility."  --Legend of the Three Companions, 36

Being thought insignificant is a basic human fear, I believe--otherwise, why be here!  So to learn to bear everything with patience and humility is a requirement for being human if you want to enjoy the experience.  How wonderful, then, that we who know Christ are able to learn this knowing that in Him we are significant no matter what, which should lead us to share the special relationship we have with Christ that comes through repentance.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 23

The Charity of Almsgiving

"Let us have charity and humility, and let us give alms, for almsgiving washes the soul of the filth of sin.  For we lose everything we leave behind in this world, but we take with us the merit of the charity and the almsgiving we've practiced and for which we will receive from the Lord a reward and worthy recompense."  --St. Francis, Letter to All the Faithful, Second Version

Alms are money given specifically to the poor.  When we give in this way, we are not only helping those in need, we are helping ourselves.  This may sound self-serving, but it's not if you are giving from a sense of gratitude for the ability to give.  It can be quite humbling to realize "but for the grace of God there go I."  Realizing and recognizing that we only have something to give because God gave it to us in the first place, is the blessing that we receive.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 22

The Fragrant Perfume of Holiness

"St. Francis used to say that he felt filled with the sweetest fragrance (Ex 29:18) and anointed with 'costly ointment' (Jn 12:3) when it was reported to him that his brothers, scattered throughout the world, were drawing many to return to the right way by the fragrant perfume of their holiness.  When he heard things like this, he rejoiced in spirit and poured his enviable blessings upon those brothers who, by word and deed, were leading sinners to the love of Christ.  On the other hand, those who dishonored religious life by their evil deeds incurred his condemnation and his terrible curse:  'By you, Most Holy Lord, and by the whole celestial court, and by me, too, your little one, cursed be they who by their bad example disrupt and destroy what you have built up, and do not ease to build up, through the holy brothers of this Order.'"  --St. Bonaventure, Major Life, 8:3

It is far worse for those who proclaim Christ and then denigrate His name by their bad example.  I remember in the 80s when "fish" pins (a Christian symbol) were popular.  I wore mine until one day in the grocery store line with my young children I realized MY behavior did not reflect the patience Christ is known for.  I discontinued wearing the pin!  Christ doesn't want us to bother about pins or bumper stickers or any other symbol we might wear.  He wants the real indicator of whether or not we are His followers--our behavior.

Friday, October 21, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 21

The Blessing for Brother Leo

"Francis wrote this blessing for his secretary and intimate companion, Brother Leo:

   May the Lord bless you and keep you,
   May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
   May the Lord show you his face and bring you peace (Nm 6:24-26).
   The Lord bless you, Brother 

At the top of the piece of parchment Brother Leo himself wrote the following in red ink:

'Two years before his death, from the feast of the Assumption of the Holy virgin Mary until the September feast of St. Michael, Brother Francis kept a Lent in the locale of La Verna in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, and of St. Michael.  After the vision and words of the seraph and imprinting of the stigmata of Christ in his body, he made the praises written on the other side of this sheet (written in his own hand)* giving thanks for the grace bestowed on him.'

Below the text of the blessing, Brother Leo wrote, again in red ink:

'With his own hand the blessed Francis wrote this blessing for me, Brother Leo.'

At the bottom of the parchment there is a tau (T) with a skull and Brother Leo's note:

'Likewise with his own hand he made this sign, the tau, and the skull.' *see June 13. "  --Monograph of St. Francis

We can bless others with our words as well as by our actions.  God needs hands, feet, and our words to show His love to His children.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 20

St. Francis Forgives and Blesses His Brothers

"When St. Francis's death was at hand, he said to one of his brothers, "Now God is calling me.  I pardon all my brothers present and absent for all their offenses and sins; and insofar as I can, I absolve them.  Tell them this, and bless them for me."  --Celano, First Life, 109

We are told to not let the sun go down on our anger because if you are holding onto anger, there is sure to be an unforgiving spirit in you.   The Lord's return could come in the night and you will have lost your chance to forgive as you have been forgiven.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 19

St. Francis Blesses the City of Assisi

"Lord, it is believed that in olden days this city was a refuge of evil people.  But now it is clear that in your large mercy and at a time of your choosing, you have shown your special superabundant compassion.  Through your goodness alone, you have chosen Assisi to be a place of refuge for those who know you in truth, who give glory to your holy name, and who waft toward all Christian people the perfume of right reputation, holy life, true doctrine and evangelical perfection.  Therefore I pray you, O Lord Jesus Christ, father of mercies, that you not dwell on our ingratitude, but remember always the immense compassion you have shown this city.  Let it always be a place of refuge for those who really know you and glorify your blessed name forever.  Amen."  --Mirror of Perfection, 124

It's not so much that we have to ask God to be merciful, but that we acknowledge our need for God's mercy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 18

The Final Words of St. Francis's Testament

"And you who shall observe these things, may you be filled in heaven with the blessing of the Most High Father, and may you be filled on earth with the blessing of his Beloved Son together with the Most Holy Spirit the Paraclete and all the powers of heaven and all the saints.  And I, Brother Francis, the littlest of the brothers, and your servant, as far as I am able, confirm for you within and without this most holy blessing."  --The Testament of St. Francis

To bless someone is to call God's favor upon them.  If we blessed everyone we came in contact, even if just privately, it would certainly improve our relationships!

Monday, October 17, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 17

A Brief Will and Testament

"St. Francis said, 'Because I haven't much strength to talk, tormented as I am with the pain of my illness , I shall make three brief statements of my will concerning the brothers.  In memory of the blessing and testament I leave them, they should always love and respect one another; they should always love and be faithful to our lady Holy Poverty; and they should always be loyal subjects of the prelates and priests of Holy Mother Church.'"  --Legend of Perugia, 62

Have you ever thought of what you'd say to your loved ones if you knew you were about to die?  I would first make sure they'd given their heart to God, then I'd ask them to love and care for one another.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 16

His Last Illness

"Brothers and my dearest sons, do not let my illness become a burden to you.  God, in his love for me his servant, will repay you in this life and in the next, giving you the fruit of those works you cannot now attend to, because you are preoccupied with caring for me.  You would not receive any greater recompense than had you done those works yourselves; for in helping me, you helped the whole Order and the very life of the brothers.  You can even say to me, 'We are spending a lot on your account, and the Lord will be in our debt because of you.'"  --Mirror of Perfection, 89

When you lend a hand to another you have no idea how many others you are actually helping by your generosity.  When I was caring for my ill mother in my home, occasionally someone would come in to look after her.  This allowed my family to go on vacation or even just out for the day.  The blessing to me extended to my children and husband.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 15

The Angels Our Companions

"Francis venerated most affectionately the angels who are with us on the field of battle and who walk with us in the midst of the shadow of death.  We should venerate these companions, he would say, who are with us everywhere, and we should call upon them as our guardians.  He used to teach that we should not offend their presence by doing in their sight what we would not do before people."  --Celano, Second Life, 197

I have read some wonderful stories of angels helping people.  I believe if we are open to feeling their presence, we will become aware of them, whether its through a breeze that comes up suddenly for a brief moment or in a heightened awareness of being protected from danger.

Friday, October 14, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 14

From Tears to Inner Light

"St. Francis had attained a wondrous purity of soul and body, yet he never stopped purifying the eyes of his spirit with a flood of tears, despite the fact that it was damaging his bodily sight.  As a result of his continual weeping, he developed a serious eye disease.  But when the doctor tried to persuade him to restrain his tears if he wanted to prevent blindness, St. Francis replied, 'Brother Doctor, we shouldn't, in order to preserve that light we share in common with the flies, refuse even the smallest measure of that eternal light which visits us.  The gift of sight was not given to the spirit for the good of the body, but to the body for the good of the spirit.'  He preferred to lose the light of his eyes rather than to dry up the fervor of his spirit by damming up his tears which cleansed his interior sight and rendered him able to see God."  --St. Bonaventure, Major Life, 5:8

"The gift of sight was not given to the spirit for the good of the body, but to the body for the good of the spirit," are words to ponder.  When we realize that all God's gifts are meant to bring us closer to Him, we will know how better to use them--to not neglect them and how to use them for others' edification.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 13

God's Will

"Once when Francis was very ill, he was so weak that he could not even move.  But when one of the brothers asked what he would prefer to bear, this lingering, protracted illness or the suffering of an excruciating martyrdom at the hands of an executioner, he replied, 'My son, what has always been and still is most dear to me and sweeter and more acceptable is whatever the Lord my God is most pleased to let happen in me and to me, for my only desire is to be found always conformed and obedient to His will in everything.'"  --Celano, First Life, 107

Submitting to God's will in all things begins with trusting Him to be a good, just, and loving creator.  Whatever befalls us in life or in death, we will be able to bear with His help.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 12

St. Francis Is Promised the Kingdom

"One night when the many and severe pains of his sickness had exhausted him more than usual, Francis began to feel sorry for himself in the very depths of his heart.  But he refused to yield to self-pity for even an hour and therefore kept praying to Christ to keep the shield of his patience unshattered.  And as he continued to pray in agony, the Lord gave him the promise of eternal life in this comparison:  'If the whole substance of the earth and the whole universe were priceless and precious gold, and it were given to you in exchange for these severe sufferings you are enduring, would you not be happy and willingly bear what you are suffering now?'

'Yes, I would be happy,' St. Francis said.  'I would rejoice beyond all measure.'

'Rejoice, therefore,' the Lord said to him, 'your sickness is an assurance of my kingdom.  Wait for it as your inheritance.  Be steadfast and assured of this reward for your patience.'  --Celano, Second Life, 213

To use the analogy, "If the whole substance of the earth and the whole universe were priceless and precious gold" as a comparison to eternal life seems strange to me since St. Francis did not value such things as gold.  But the fact that he was willing to suffer if it meant that he would receive eternal life is not strange.  Being with Christ eternally is all that mattered to Francis.  Christ suffered for us so that we could be with Him eternally.  We each "suffer" in our own ways because of what we may have to bear in this fallen world, if we are faithful to Him and do not give in to the world's ways.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 11

St. Francis's Final Psalm

"It happened at the end that St. Francis was resting a few days in one of his favorite places when he realized that the time of his death was near.  He therefore summoned two of his brothers and spiritual sons and commanded them to sing joyfully and in a loud voice the praises of the Lord over his approaching death, or, rather, his approaching life.  Francis himself then sang, as best he could, the psalm of David which beings, 'Yahweh, I am calling, hurry to me, listen to my voice when I call to you.' (Ps 141:1)"  --Celano, First Life, 109

Singing praises to God at any time, all the time, lifts me up into Life!  How can we be here and not realize that every little thing we have is from God--to sustain and grow us into an eternal relationship with Him.

Monday, October 10, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 10

St. Francis's Prophecy Concerning His Body

"One day, when Francis lay ill in the bishop's residence in Assisi, a spiritual brother said to him with a smile, as if joking, 'How much do you think you should charge the Lord for this sackcloth of yours?  For much precious cloth and drapery will one day cover your little body which now is clothed in sackcloth!'  And indeed, at that time St. Francis's cowl was patched with sackcloth, and his habit was all of sackcloth, as well.  Then St. Francis, or rather the Holy Spirit in him, answered with words filled with fervor and joy, 'You have spoken the truth; what you've said will be fulfilled to the praise and glory of my God.' " --Mirror of Perfection, 109

Compared to what heaven will be our lives here are "patched with sackcloth."  How glorious it will be to see God face-to-face and be clothed in His glory!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 9

St. Francis Makes a Request the Week of His Death

"'You know that the Lady Jacoba of Settesoli has been, and remains, very devoted to me and to our Order.  I believe that if you would let her know that I am failing, she wold consider it a great favor and kindness.  And tell her to send cloth for a tunic.  It should be monk's cloth, the color of ashes, like the cloth the Cistercians weave in lands across the sea.  She might also send some of that pastry she used to make for me when I was in the Holy City.'

Just then there was a knock at the door.  And when one of the brothers opened the outer gate, he saw before him Lady Jacoba, who explained, 'Brothers, while I was in prayer I heard in the Spirit, 'God visit your father, St. Francis, and quickly; do not delay.  If you tarry, you won't find him alive.  Take with you some monk's cloth for his tunic, and the ingredients you need to make that pastry for him, and take a good quantity of wax candles, too, and some incense.'"  --Writings of Leo, Rufino, and Angelo, 35a

The Spirit heard Francis's request and sent even more than he'd asked for.  God does this for us as well.....we just don't realize it most of the time because we are not open to receiving God's blessings like Francis was.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 8

St. Francis Keeps His Promise to St. Clare

"Not long after St. Clare received St. Francis's letter blessing and absolving her and the Poor Ladies, Francis died in the night.  At daybreak, then, all the clergy and people of Assisi came and bore Francis's body from the place where he had died and, as they went, sang hymns of praise and waved tree branches, which they carried in his honor.  And by the will of God the procession went by way of San Damiano, to fulfill the words the Lord had spoken through Francis to comfort his daughters and sisters.

The brothers removed the iron grille through which the Poor Ladies received holy communion and heard the word of God, and lifted the body of Francis from its bier and placed it in the arms that reached out through the window.  Lady Clare and her sisters were thereby consoled, although they were filled with grief and wept aloud that they were now deprived of the comfort and counsel of such a father."  --Mirror of Perfection, 108

It is not a sin to grieve the loss of our earthly friends and family.  This is part of being human.  It does not show a lack of faith, but rather that God knows our need for companionship that we form these kinds of bonds with people.  This is why He is there to comfort us in our sorrow if we would just turn to Him.

St. Francis of Assisi - October 7

St. Francis Consoles the Lady Clare

"The week St. Francis died, St. Clare, the first little plant of the Poor Ladies of San Damiano and the marvelous disciple of Francis in the observance of evangelical perfection, feared that she was going to die before he did, because they both were gravely ill.  She wept bitterly and would not be consoled, for she thought she would not see Francis before he died, he who had been her father after God, her consolation and teacher, the one who had rooted her in God's grace.

So Clare expressed her anxiety to Francis through one of the brothers,  And Francis was filled with compassion for her, since he loved Clare with a special fatherly affection.  But he knew he could not quiet her fears by a personal visit to her and the other Poor Ladies, so he sent her a letter blessing her and absolving her of ay infraction she may have committed against his admonitions or the commands and counsels of the Son of God.

Then, in order that she might put aside all sadness, he said to the brother whom Clare had sent to him, 'God and tell the Lady Clare to put aside all displeasure and sadness that she cannot see me now, and assure her that, before she dies, both she and her sisters will see me again, and they will be filled with consolation.'"  --Mirror of Perfection, 108

Letting go of the people we love is a hard thing to do.  But our consolation is in the hope of seeing them again.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 6

In Love with Christ Crucified

"Jesus in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and Mary in agony somewhere in Jerusalem, unable to do anything, having to stand helplessly by and let her only son suffer the terrible inner struggle that no one else can suffer for us.  Such was St. Francis's feeling, his compassion for Christ, his Savior.  He wanted somehow to suffer with Jesus, and so, two years before he died, this prayer rose from the depths of his love for the crucified Christ:  'O Lord, I beg of you two graces before I die--to experience personally and in all possible fullness the pains of your bitter passion and to feel for you the same love that moved you to sacrifice yourself for us.'  --Little Flowers of St. Francis

Who among us has not felt the pain of someone we dearly love?  As a mother I felt this for my children when they were in physical pain or emotional pain and would willingly have traded places with them if I could.  This is the kind of love Christ has for us....and Francis had for Christ.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 5

The Two Small Coins of St. Francis

"Christ's Poor One, Francis, possessed nothing but two small coins (cf. Mk 12:42) which he could dispose of with largesse and charity:  his body and his soul.  But those two mites he offered to God continually, for love of Christ; he seemed always to be immolating his body with the rigor of fasting and his soul with the flame of desire:  his body, a holocaust outside in the court of the temple; his soul, incense offered in the inner temple."  --St. Bonaventure, Major Life, 9:3

If we would realize that all we truly possess is our body, while alive, and our soul, for eternity....that everything else is merely for our use--perhaps we would experience the joy that St. Francis experienced even in the midst of his hardships.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 4

The Feast of St. Francis

"The larks are friends of daylight and shun the shadows of twilight  But on the eve that St. Francis passed from this world to Christ, just as twilight was descending, the larks rose up to the roof of his cell and began circling it with clamor of wingbeat and song.  No one knew if they were singing with joy or sadness for their voices were filled with joyful tears and sad joy, as if they were orphaned children weeping and singing their father into heaven.  The city guards who were keeping watch there were filled with wonder and they summoned others to witness the sight."  --Celano, Treatise on the Miracles, 32

I believe we all have what is called a 6th sense, but only animals have remained open to it while very few of us humans have.  As they say, if you don't use it you lose it.  Some call it intuition.  Whatever it is, be open to "knowing" things that God wants you to know, so that, like the larks, you will be available to His bidding.

Monday, October 3, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 3

The Transitus, or Passing of St. Francis

"When he was dying, St. Francis made clear to his brothers the uniqueness of each person's response to Christ.  He covered the wound in his side with his right hand, as if to preserve the seal of his own unique response, and he said,'I have done what was mine to do; may Christ teach you what is yours to do.'"  --Celano, Second Life, 214

The wound in his side refers to the stigmata he had experienced earlier.  Here, Francis is reminding his followers that they must follow in the path that Christ has prepared for them individually.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 2

St. Francis's Instructions for His Death

"As soon as my soul has left the body, strip me naked, as I stripped myself before the world, and place me on the bare ground.  Then leave me there for a long as it takes to walk a mile."  --Writings of Leo, Rufino, and Angelo, 33d

The text does not explain why Francis requested this.  Perhaps it was his body's way of returning to the earth from whence it came.  His soul, he knew, would already be with God.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

St. Francis of Assisi - October 1

St. Francis Welcomes Sister Death

"Francis spent the remaining few days before his death in praise, teaching his much-beloved companions to praise Christ with him.  He also asked all creatures to praise God and, using the words he'd composed earlier, exhorted them to love God.  He even exhorted death itself, terrible and hated by all, to give praise; and joyfully going to meet it, he invited death to be his lodger.  'Welcome,' he said, 'my sister Death.'"  --Celano, Second Life, 217

This month's readings concern St. Francis's last days.  As Christians we have the assurance that "death" will be better than life--no matter how wonderful a life on earth we've had.  My only sadness will be for those I leave behind.  Francis uses this time of his impending transition to encourage his much-beloved companions.