Fr. Francis' Reflections, April, 2015


francisclarechristApril 2015

 Let every creature in heaven,

on earth, in the sea and in the depths,

give praise, glory, honor and blessing

to Him Who suffered so much,

Who has given and will give in the future every good,

for He is our power and strength,

Who alone is good,

Who alone is almighty,

Who alone is omnipotent, wonderful, glorious

and Who alone is holy,

worthy of praise and blessing

through endless ages.  Amen.

(Later Admonition and Exhortation to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, 49-50)


Following are daily excerpts taken from the writings of St. Bonaventure.   Daily meditative phrases from various sources.


One reason that should inspire us to preach is love of Christ, and another is love of our neighbor. – If you have encountered Christ, live with Christ! Announce him in the first person, as authentic witnesses.


The words of Holy Scripture provide spiritual nourishment for our neighbor, just as material food sustains the body. – It is impossible to love Christ without the Church that Christ loves.


In the same way that a person listens to news of a friend, and a sick person pays close heed to the advice of the doctor, so those who love God listen attentively to his word. – We know we can count on Christ here and, above all, now and always.


By the mouth of the contemplative soul dwelling in the garden of Holy Scripture, because of the consolations to be found there, the Lord, the Holy Spirit says: I will come to listen. – Do not extinguish the joy that is born of faith in Christ crucified and risen. (It is a joy of light, presence, forgiveness and anticipation of eternal happiness).


A third reason that ought to inspire us to preach is that the Lord desires to be honored.  He wishes to be praised in our prayers, homilies, and sermons, and he wishes our neighbor to be edified by all these. – The Eucharist makes us Christians … The Church is realized when we celebrate the sacrifice of the cross of Christ …


Friend go up higher, are words of Christ inviting to the wedding feast those guests found to be humble whom the Lord exalts and desires to exalt. – Love can in fact bring about the prodigy of making the fragrant rose of joy bloom on the thorny stem of suffering.


St. Francis, having been invited to Christ’s wedding feast, sat in the lowest place. That is to say, he clothed himself in a shabby habit and he founded the Order of Lesser Brothers. – The Eucharist brings us near to God … God in the Eucharist is precisely that God who has willed to enter into man’s history … to become a man.


(St. Francis) did not qualify the word ‘Lesser’ in any way, but simply and unconditionally called his Order the Order of Lesser Brothers. The Lord said to the humble guest, the one who had taken the lower place, Friend, go up higher. – The times call for a radical examination of our relationship with Christ … very profound examination … very radical.


The wisdom of God … indicates (in the text Friend, go up higher) the presence of grace by the idea of friendship, and so the text says Friend. – Christ is on the side of man; and he is such on both sides: those who expect love and those who give them love.


The wisdom of God … indicates (in the text Friend, go up higher) ‘glory’ by the spatial adverb higher. – A pause for true adoration has greater value and spiritual fruit than the most intense activity, even apostolic activity itself.


The wisdom of God … symbolizes (in the text Friend, go up higher) ‘pass over from grace to glory’ by the verb go up. – In order to be able truly to enlist our time and our capabilities for the salvation and sanctification of souls … we must above all possess certitude and clarity about the truths that must be believed and practiced. If we are unsure, uncertain, confused, or contradictory, we cannot build.


Friend … refers to the power of grace and eternal wisdom in devout souls … bestowed on many saints for generation after generation.  In these last times grace was given to this holy man, making him a model of repentance for all – We must at times knowingly detach ourselves from our sensuality to enhance our personality.


Jesus calls St. Francis his friend … due to his truly humble spirit in all that was committed to him, he was a faithful friend of the Lord. – Man must above all be beautiful internally. Without this beauty, all efforts directed to the body alone will not forge a truly beautiful person.


(Jesus calls St. Francis his friend) because of his utter purity of heart in everything he pledged himself to do, he was a congenial friend of the Lord. – We encounter God when we open ourselves to him.


(Jesus calls St. Francis his friend) on account of the serenity of his contemplative soul, he was an intimate friend of the Lord. – Our life is a journey toward heaven … The thought of heaven should strengthen us … We play the card of our life pointing toward heaven!


(Jesus calls St. Francis his friend) because the marks of Christ’s cross were imprinted on his body, he became, as Christ’s friend, conformed to his likeness. – We have need of Christ whom, if we want him to, can free us from the bonds of sin.


The word Friend, therefore, is addressed to Saint Francis because he was a faithful, congenial, and intimate friend of the Lord, conformed to him by the marks of the stigmata on his body. – Leading a life based on the sacraments, animated by the common priesthood, signifies … A desire that God will act in one and enable one to reach the full maturity of Christ.


(St. Francis) was a faithful friend on account of his true humility. We read in Sirach: There is nothing more precious as a faithful friend. The Lord greatly loves his faithful friends, and that is because he has so few faithful ones … – Eucharistic worship is the center of the whole sacramental life.


Excessive love of self leads to deceit; minimal love of our neighbor leads to negligence, and reduces the love of God to less than it ought to be. A faithful friend possesses a truly humble heart. – The cross of Christ is the substance of the divine mystery which animates the Church and humanity.


(A faithful friend of God) observes all God’s commandments and attributes nothing to his own glory that is accomplished by God. Saint Bernard writes: You are indeed a faithful servant of the Lord when nothing of the Lord’s abundant glory, which does not come from you but is channeled through you, remains clinging to your hands.  – The whole Gospel is a dialogue with man … always and uninterruptedly a dialogue with man, with every man – one, unique, and absolutely singular.


Many achieve nothing for God, because when they see that something of his glory is being channeled through them, they desire to be praised and honored themselves. – Every threat to human rights … is perilous to peace.


Saint Francis made himself subject to everyone and was obedient even to the tiniest commandment of God.  If anyone ordered him to do anything he was ready to carry it out and be obedient to all. – Freedom and truth determine the spiritual imprint that makes the diverse manifestations of life and human activity.


(St. Francis) always acknowledged himself the greatest and vilest sinner …  He used to ask the Lord in prayer: Why, O Lord, have you put me, wretched and stupid as I am, in charge of this Order?  And the Lord answered: Have you not considered that I am above you in governing and caring for the Order? – Love has need of freedom.


(The Lord said to St. Francis) Since I am above you, you can put me in your place in governing and directing the Order. For the Lord’s sake he attributed everything to the glory of God. We should learn to be faithful like this ourselves. – Overcome evil with good.


(St. Francis) was a congenial friend in everything he pledged himself to do, due to his utter purity of heart.  He who loves purity of heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king as his friend, and not merely an earthly king, but the everlasting King of glory whose friendship ensures we will arrive at the eternal kingdom. – Learn to know Christ. Grasp Christ.


Saint Francis cherished innocence and purity and so he won the friendship of the everlasting King.  Anyone who desires to preserve innocence and purity of heart has to … do penance by willingly undertaking afflictions … and have patience in tribulations inflicted by others. – Prayer, trust, and fidelity must be the climate of authentic ecumenism (or unity).


The soul cannot be purified without passing through the refining fire of penance and patience … St. Francis was purified through penance in fasting, abstinence and afflictions. – Dialogue between brothers (and sisters) does not efface but presupposes our own identity.


Saint Francis desired to undergo tribulations for Christ’s sake and to suffer in order to do something for him.  Indeed, so much did he want to bear trials on behalf of his neighbor that he offered himself to the pagan Sultan, that he might be put to death on the account of Christ. – With the power of the Gospel, the Church helps us to see and respect everyone as brother (sister) … and invites to dialogue so that justice may be safeguarded and unity maintained.


Saint Francis was an intimate friend of the Lord because of the serenity of his contemplative soul … Saint Francis was saved from the dangerous currents of a worldly life. God gave him the staff of the cross to lead the people out of the Egypt of vice into the desert of the Order of Lesser Brothers. – Enjoy the fruits of your work and a legitimate industriousness … But … do not shut yourselves within yourselves: think of the most poor.


The Lord calls his chosen ones to the cross to lead others into the desert of repentance and at the end of this life into the Promised Land, that is, to the glory of the heavenly kingdom. – Do not let material abundance separate you from the beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount.




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