Daily Reflections from Fr. Francis - October, 2015

St. Francis & The EucharistOctober 2015

Almighty, eternal, just, and merciful God,

grant to us wretches, by your will, to do what we know you wish,

and ever to wish what pleases you,

in order that, purified in soul, lighted up within,

and inflamed by the fire of the Holy Spirit,

we may follow the footsteps of your Son,

our Lord Jesus Christ,

and reach you, Most High, by your grace alone.

For you live and reign and are glorified,

in perfect Trinity and simple Unity, Almighty God

for ever and ever.


(Letter to the Chapter)

The daily Franciscan verses are taken from A letter on the Passing of Saint Francis attributed to Elias of Assisi.  Thoughts for each day are taken from Words of Blessed John Paul II.


To Gregory, his beloved brother in Christ, the minister of the brothers who are in France, together with all his brothers and ours, Brother Elias, a sinner, sends greetings. Before I begin to write, I sigh, and rightly so – Intelligence may drive machines, but it is the heart that beats with life!


My groans gush forth like waters in a flood. For what I feared has overtaken me and has overtaken you. And what I dreaded has happened to me and to you. – Allow God to enter your life: Then you will brighten with divine light.


Our consoler has gone away from us and he who carried us in his arms like lambs has gone on a journey to a far away country. – Without eternal life, temporal existence, however rich, however highly developed in all aspects, in the end brings man nothing other than the ineluctable necessity of death.


He who was beloved by God and of man, who taught Jacob the law of life and of discipline, and gave to Israel a covenant of peace has been received into the most resplendent dwellings. – Like Francis of Assisi, preach peace and repentance, promote justice, defend the rights of the human person, raise your voice against exploitation and violence, and attentively care for all the wounds that make humanity groan today.


We would rejoice on his account, yet for our own part we must mourn, since in his absence darkness surrounds us and the shadow of death covers us. – Especially through His lifestyle and through His actions, Jesus revealed that love is present in the world in which we live.


It is a loss for all, yet it is a trial singularly my own, for he has left me in the midst of darkness, surrounded by many anxieties and pressed down by countless afflictions. – Love is endlessly inventive. These words of St. Vincent (de Paul) marvelously express this reality in the church.


For this reason I implore you. Mourn with me, brothers, for I am in great sorrow and, with you, in pain. For we are orphans without our father and bereaved of the light of our eyes. – The rosary brings us back again and again to the most important scenes of Christ’s life, almost as if to let us ‘breathe’ His mystery. The rosary is the privileged path to contemplation. It is Mary’s way.


In truth, in very truth, the presence of our brother and father Francis was a light, not only for us who were near, but even for those who were far from us in calling and in life. – The sovereign divine initiative does not dispense man from the task of responding to it.

He was a light shed by the true light to give light to those who were in darkness and sitting in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. – Divine love surrounds and penetrates every human venture.


He did this because the true Daystar from on high shone upon his heart and enkindled his will with the fire of His love. – Let the angels guide you, so that you will faithfully put God’s commandments intro practice in your life.


By preaching the kingdom of God and turning the hearts of fathers to their children and the rebellious to the wisdom of the just, he prepared for the Lord a new people in the world. – The Eucharistic celebration reunites all Christians … It gathers them all in the equal dignity of brothers and sisters of Christ and children of the Father.


His name reached distant coasts and all lands were in awe at his marvelous deeds. For this reason, sons and brothers, do not mourn beyond measure. – In Jesus’s cross all suffering acquires the possibility of meaning; sickness does not cease to be a trial, but it is illuminated by hope.


God, the father of orphans, will give us comfort by his holy consolation. And, if you weep, brothers, weep for yourselves and not for him. – Only Jesus knows what is in your hearts and your deepest desires.


For ‘in the midst of life, we are caught in death’, while he has passed from death to life. – Only Jesus, who has loved you to the end, can fulfill your aspirations.


Rejoice, for, like Jacob, he blessed all his sons before he was taken from us and forgave them all the faults which any one of us might have committed, or even thought of committing, against him. – No one apart from Christ can give you true happiness.


And now, after telling you these things, I announce to you a great joy and the news of a miracle. Such a sign that has never been heard of from the dawn of time except in the Son of God, who is Christ the Lord. – The life of grace which we carry within us, is the life of the risen Christ.


Not long before his death, our brother and father appeared crucified, bearing in his body the five wounds which are truly the marks of Christ. – The gospel of hope … offers confidence, serenity, and direction in place of the hopelessness which inevitably spawns fear, hostility, and violence in the hearts of individuals and in society as a whole.


His hands and feet had, as it were, the openings of the nails and were pierced front and back revealing the scars and showing the nails’ blackness. – The fervent prayer of Jesus in the Upper Room continues to remind Christian communities that unity is a gift to welcome and develop in an ever deeper way.


His side, moreover, seemed opened by a lance and often emitted blood. – Humanity will be more easily attracted by Christ and will choose Him if they are touched by the witness of Christian faith and charity.


As long as his spirit lived in the body, there was no beauty in him for his appearance was that of a man despised. No part of his body was without suffering. – God has endowed human beings with the capacity to love.


By reason of the contraction of his sinews, his limbs were stiff, much like those of a dead man. But after his death, his appearance was one of great beauty gleaming with a dazzling whiteness and giving joy to all who looked upon him. – It is through love that we fulfill our destiny to act in the likeness of God.


His limbs, which had been rigid, became marvelously soft and pliable, so that they would be turned this way and that, like those of a young child. – To believe in Jesus is to accept what He says, even when it runs contrary to what others are saying.


Therefore, brothers, bless the God of heaven and praise Him before all, for He has shown His mercy to us. Hold fast the memory of our father and brother, Francis, to the praise and glory of Him Who made him so great among people and gave him glory in the sight of angels. – To believe in Jesus … means rejecting the lure of sin, however attractive it may be, in order to set out on the difficult path of the gospel virtues.


Pray for him as he begged us, and pray to him that God may make us share with him in his holy grace. Amen. – The family’s future is entrusted first of all to each person’s conscience and responsible commitment, and to the convictions and values that are alive within us.


On the fourth day before the nones of October, the Lord’s day, at the first hour of the preceding night, our father and brothers went to Christ. – We must always to turn with trustful supplication to Him who can change human hearts and minds.


I am sure, dearest brothers, that when this letter reaches you, you will follow the footprints of the people of Israel as they mourned the loss of their great leaders, Moses and Aaron. – The splendor of Christ’s glory is reflected in the face of every human being.


Let us, by all means, give way to tears for we are deprived of so great a father. Indeed, it is in keeping with our love for him that we rejoice with Francis. Still, it is right to mourn him! – With courage and compassion, Christians must be ever attentive to the cry of the poor, serving the Lord who is present in their suffering.


It belongs to us to rejoice with Francis, for he has not died but gone to the fair in heaven, taking with him a bag of mercy and will not return until the full moon. At the same time it is right for us to weep for Francis. – True reconciliation between divided and hostile men is possible only when they allow themselves to be reconciled with God.


He who came and went among us, as did Aaron, who brought forth from his storehouse both the new and the old and comforted us in all our afflictions, has been taken from our midst. Now we are like orphans without a father. – Authentic brotherly love is founded on love for God, who is the common Father of all.


Yet, because it is written, ‘the poor depend on you and you are the helper of orphans’ all of you, dearest brothers, must earnestly pray that, though this earthen jar has been broken in the valley of Adam’s children, the Most High Potter will deign to repair and restore another of similar honor, who will rule over the multitude of our race and go before us into battle like a true Maccabe. – Authentic religious experience is … a mature and noble attitude of acceptance of God, which in turn gives meaning to life and implies a responsibility to work for a better world.


And, because it is not useless to pray for the dead, pray to the Lord for his soul. – The degree of a people’s civilization is measured by the extent of their respect for… the value of life.

Brother Elias ends his letter announcing the death of St. Francis with the following directives and signature:

Let each priest say three Masses, each cleric the Psalter,
and the lay brothers five Our Fathers.

Let the clerics also recite the common vigil office. Amen.

Brother Elias, Sinner.

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