Thoughts from your Regional Formation Director - September, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sister in Christ, Peace be with you!

Here we are in September which holds for us many feasts, beginning with The Nativity of Our Lady, the Holy Name of Mary, and Our Lady of Sorrows, as well as several Franciscan Saints. They gave up everything to rejoice in the treasures that awaited them in heaven.

Going back a couple of months ago, we read in Scripture, Matthew 13:44-52, another account of what the Kingdom of Heaven is like and that once one finds it, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it. Francis from the beginning of his ministry gave up all his possessions to follow the poor crucified Christ in imitation of Him.

On one occasion Bernard of Quintavalle, who was a nobleman of Assisi, rich and well respected, began thinking about St. Francis and how he had such contempt for the world even under persecution and long suffering in endurance. Bernard invited St. Francis to his home; Francis humbly accepted. Bernard had a plan to watch Francis during the night. Francis, thinking that Bernard was asleep, arose from his bed and gave praise to God continually and with tear filled eyes as he gazed toward heaven and with a groan recited, “My God and My All” unceasingly until dawn.

It so happened that Bernard saw everything as he woke from sleep. Being deeply moved by the Holy Spirit, Bernard the next morning called to Francis and told Francis that he was determined to fully abandon this world. They prayerfully sought the Lord in scripture to ask the Lord what He would have them do. After receiving direction through prayer Bernard sold off all his possessions and became the first disciple of St. Francis.

Francis could speak from his experience when he wrote about infirmities. He was nearly blind when he composed The Canticle. His prescribed treatment for his eyes which he submitted to was the application of hot irons to his temples. He prayed that he would not feel the searing pain.

For Francis it was more than giving up possessions to follow Jesus. When at Mount Alverna Francis loved to sit and meditate on the Passion of Jesus. Although the brothers would bring bread and water from time to time, he was alone with his Lord and Savior. As Francis had been meditating on Jesus’ Passion he asked for two gifts: First to feel in his body and soul the wounds of Our Lord before he died. Secondly, to feel love for those who inflicted the wounds on Jesus’ body, feet, hands and side. During the Lent of Saint Michael another feast took place on September 14th at that time called the Exaltation of the Cross now called The Triumph of the Cross. It was on that day in 1224 that the Lord gave Francis a distinctive gift. Francis joyfully received from the Seraph the wounds of Jesus which penetrated his entire body leaving the Stigmata.

Rule 10   United themselves to the redemptive obedience of Jesus, who placed his will into the Father’s hands, let them faithfully fulfill the duties proper to their various circumstances of life. Let them also follow the poor and crucified Christ, witness to him even in difficulties and persecutions.

May the Lord show you what is yours to do.

Peace and every good,


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