Father Francis

Excerpts taken from: A Mirror of Perfection, Rule, Life and True Calling of a Lesser Brother

Daily reflections are taken from various sources

1

Francis began to say: Even a perfect religious very often sins in ignorance. Consequently if he does not realize his sin, he is punished … so that he may see and carefully reflect internally and externally … how he may have offended. – Do not be afraid! Open, indeed, open wide the doors to Christ!

2

In this life the Lord leaves nothing unpunished in those whom He loves tenderly … Indeed the Lord in His mercy granted me this gift. He makes me understand through prayer any way in which I please or displease Him. – With humility and trust I beg and implore you, allow Christ to speak to the person in you.

3

I am bound always to give good example; because I was given to them (the brothers), especially for this. When they hear that I am carrying the same trials they endure they endure theirs with greater patience. – Everything within us urges us to transcend ourselves, to overcome the temptation of superficiality or despair.

4

Blessed Francis was always sickly … He nevertheless considered that he should show a good example to the brothers and always take away from them any occasion for complaining about him… – Left to ourselves we could never achieve the ends for which we have been created.

5

Whether he was healthy or sick, until the day of his death, he wanted to endure so much need, that if any of the brothers who knew this, as we did … they would bear them (their needs) with greater patience. – Within us there is a promise which we find are incapable of attaining. But the Son of God who came among us has given us his personal assurance.

6

He was so devout and prayed with such reverence, that during times of prayer, he refused to lean against a wall or partition, but always stood erect, without capuche over his head, and sometimes on his knees, especially when he spent greater part of the day and night in prayer. – In the mystery of his cross and resurrection, Christ has … bridged the infinite distance that separates all people from new life in him.

7

If the body wants to eat its food in peace and quiet, and both it and the body eventually will become food for worms, in what peace and quiet should the soul receive its food, which is God Himself! – Faith cannot be be only cold hard facts calculated and weighed by our intellect. No, faith must be quickened by love.

8

The devil is delighted when he can extinguish or prevent devotion and joy in the heart of a servant of God which spring from clean prayer and other good works. – Faith must come alive through the good works which reveal God’s truth in us.

9

If the devil can have something of his own in a servant of God, he will in a short time make a single hair into a beam, always making it bigger… – Being a Christian must mean being a witness for Christ.

10

(The devil will do as he wishes) unless the servant of God is wise, removing and destroying (whatever the devil has planted) as quickly as possible by means of contrition, confession, and works of satisfaction. – Love of neighbor springs from a loving heart.

11

Blessed Francis had this as his greatest and main goal: he was always careful to have and preserve in himself spiritual joy internally and externally… – Peace is our duty, our grave duty, our supreme responsibility.

12

If I am tempted and depressed and I look at the joy of my companion, because of that joy I turn from the temptation and depression and toward inner and outer joy. – If you want peace, reach out to the poor.

13

The first brothers and those who came after them for a long time mortified their bodies excessively, not only by abstinence in food and drink, but also in vigils, cold, and manual labor. – The family has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love.

14

The abbot of Saint Benedict of Monte Subasio granted blessed Francis and his brothers the Church of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula as the poorest little church they had. And he wanted that, if the Lord increased the brothers, it be the head of the whole religion. And blessed Francis granted this. – Man cannot live without love.

15

And he (Francis) was overjoyed at the place granted the brothers … and because of the surname it had, for it was surnamed: ‘of the Portiuncula’… This name foreshadowed that it was to be the mother and head of the poor Lesser Brothers. – The one who wishes to understand him/herself thoroughly, must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness anbd sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ.

16

Francis said: For this church was a prophecy that has been fulfilled in the coming of the Lesser Brothers. And although it is poor and almost in ruins for a long time, the people of the city of Assisi and its neighborhood had always held it in great devotion. – We are called to become a temple for the Blessed Trinity.

17

He wanted the church to be under the ordinance of the general who would place a holy family there, cleric brothers and lay brothers who would serve them, and he wanted the place to be kept especially pure and holy in hymns and praises of the Lord. – The God of all wants to enter into communion with us.

18

I want this place to be a mirror and a good example for the entire religion, a candelabra before the throne of God and before the blessed Virgin. Thus may the Lord have mercy on the faults and failings of the brothers and always preserve and protect this religion, His little plant. – Wherever people are praying in the world, there the Holy Spirit is, the living breath of prayer.

19

And so, through God’s example, he did not want to have a house or cell in this world, nor did he have one built for himself. Moreover, if he happened to say to the brothers: Prepare this cell this way, he would refuse afterwards to stay in it, because of that saying of the holy Gospel: Do not be concerned. – Prayer is a revelation of that … depth which comes from God and which only God can fill, precisely with the Holy Spirit.

20

He used to say: From the beginning of my conversion, when I separated myself from the world and father in the flesh, the Lord put His word in the mouth of the bishop of Assisi so he could counsel me well in the service of Christ and comfort me. Therefore, as well as the greater excellence that I consider in prelates and in clerics, not only in bishops, but in poor priests as well, I want to love them, revere them and regard them as my lords. – God calls me and sends me forth as a laborer in his vineyard.

21

After receiving the bishop’s blessing … they (the brothers) may have poor little houses built of mud and wood, and some little cells where the brothers can sometimes pray and where, for their own greater decency and also to avoid idle words, they can work. – Every one of us God called by name.

22

Brother Francis had Brother Benedict of Piratro, who celebrated for him, called, since, although he was sick, he always wanted gladly and devoutly, to hear Mass whenever he was able. And when he had come, blessed Francis told him: Write that I bless all my brothers, those who are and who will be in the religion until the end of the world. – From eternity God has thought of us and has loved us as unique individuals.

23

(Francis) used to go through the villages and churches in the area around the city of Assisi, proclaiming and preaching to the people that they should do penance. And he would carry a broom to sweep the churches. For blessed Francis was very sad when he entered some church and saw that it was not clean. – The fundamental and continuous attitude of the disciple would be one of vigilance and a conscious attentiveness to the voice of God.

24

After preaching to the people, at the end of the sermon he would always have all the priests who were present assembled in some remote place so he could not be overheard by the people. He would preach to them about the salvation of souls and, in particular, that they should exercise care and concern in keeping churches clean, as well as altars and everything that pertained to the celebration of the divine mysteries. – Human life is not limited to the time spent on earth but is wholly directed to perfect joy and fullness of joy in the hereafter.

25

(To a family saddened that their son and brother wanted to enter the Order, blessed Francis said): This son of yours wants to serve God and you should be glad and not sad about this. This will be counted an honor and advantage to the world, because God will be honored by your own flesh and blood, and all our brothers will be your sons and brothers… – Earthly suffering, when accepted in love, is like a bitter kernel containing the seed of new life, the treasure of divine glory to be given man in eternity.

26

(Francis continued): Because he is a creature of God and wishes to serve his Creator, and to serve Him is to reign, I cannot and should not return him to you. But in order that you may have some consolation from all this, I want him to expropriate himself of this ox by giving it to you, although, according to the counsel of the holy Gospel, it ought to be given to other poor people. – We are called to entrust our lives completely to our providential God.

27

When blessed Francis remained alone one night to pray in the Church of Saint Peter of Bovaria, near the leper hospital of Trebio, he felt a diabolical illusion. He got up and signing himself said: On behalf of Almighty God, I tell you, demons, you may do in my body whatever God told you. – Being a follower of Christ means becoming conformed to him who became a servant even to giving himself on the cross.

28

Brother Peter, (Francis’) companion, saw in the church that throne that had been Lucifer’s, so that the response to him was that it was reserved for blessed Francis – Let us rejoice and give thanks for (in Baptism) we have become not only Christians, but Christ … Marvel and rejoice: We have become Christ!

 

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