Father Francis' Daily Reflections - March 2017

Wherever we are, in every place, at every hour, at every time of the day, every day and continually,

let all of us truly and humbly believe, hold in our heart and love, honor, adore, serve,

praise and bless, glorify and exalt, magnify and give thanks

to the Most High and Supreme Eternal God, Trinity and Unity,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

Creator of all, Savior of all who believe and hope in Him, and love Him, Who,

without beginning and end, is unchangeable, invisible, indescribable, ineffable,

incomprehensible, unfathomable, blessed, praiseworthy, glorious, exalted,

sublime, most high, gentle, lovable, delightful,

and totally desirable above all else for ever.

Amen.

(Prayer of Saint Francis taken from the Earlier Rule, chapter 23)

 

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

Daily reflections are taken from various sources

 

1

Blessed Francis had such reverence and devotion for the Body of Christ, that he wanted it written in the Rule that the brothers in the regions where they stay have care and concern, and should preach to the people, and admonish the clerics and priests to place the Body of Christ in a good and fitting place. – Christianity is not an opinion. Christianity is Christ!

2

(Blessed Francis) wanted to send some brothers with pyxes through every region and wherever they found the Body of Christ placed illicitly, they were to place It honorably in them. – Christianity is a person, a living person!  To meet Jesus, to love him and make him loved: This is the Christian vocation.

3

Blessed Francis had such reverence and devotion for the Body of Christ … that he wanted to send (other brothers) with beautiful wafer irons for making hosts at all times. – We have greater need for the Gospel if we are to walk in the ways of truth, freedom, justice, and peace. (adapted)

4

Blessed Francis sent brothers through the regions to preach penance … – We need the Gospel to know God and ourselves, and to nurture a sense of dignity and respect for the value of life, redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice.

5

Go, in the name of the Lord, two by two along the way, decently, in the greatest silence from dawn until after terce, praying to the Lord in your hearts. And let no idle or useless words be mentioned among you … – The law of Christian life is to be found not in a written code, but in the personal action of the Holy Spirit, who inspires and guides the Christian.

6

Although you are traveling, nevertheless, let your behavior be as decent as if you were staying in a hermitage or a cell because wherever we are or wherever we travel, we have a cell with us. – To pray means to be spiritually immersed in God, in an attitude of humble cohesion to his will.

7

Brother Body is our cell, and the soul is the hermit who remains inside the cell to pray to God and meditate. – As Christians, we live by faith and in hope.

8

So if the soul does not remain in quiet and solitude in its cell, a cell made by hands does little good to a religious. – God has given us a moral law to guide and protect us from falling back into the slavery of sin and falsehood. The Ten Commandments are the charter of true freedom for individuals as well as for society as a whole.

9

I must be a model and example to all the brothers… so that the brothers may be able to bear their trials more patiently when they hear that I am also undergoing the same thing. – We are called to live the Gospel with total fidelity.

10

In the name of the Lord and His Mother and all the saints, I choose the region of France, especially among the Catholics of the holy Church, they show great reverence to the Body of Christ, which pleases me very much. – We cannot forgive is we do not let God forgive us first.

11

I tell you in truth that the Lord chose and sent the brothers for the benefit and salvation of the souls of all people in the whole world and they should be received not only in the land of believers, but also in that of non-believers. – We are the object of God’s mercy.

12

As long as (the brothers) observe what they promised the Lord, the Lord will minister to them in the land of non-believers as well as in the countries of believers. – We will be ready to forgive the debts of others only if we become aware of the enormous debt that we ourselves have been forgiven.

13

The Lord Bishop (of Florence) marveled at his words and admitted that he spoke the truth.  But the Lord Bishop did not allow (blessed Francis) to go to France.  Instead blessed Francis sent Brother Pacifico there with other brothers, and he returned to the Spoleto Valley. – Life is more than material development; it needs a soul and the wisdom and courage to overcome moral ills and spiritual temptations.

14

Blessed Francis said to his companions … It seems to me that I am not a Lesser Brother unless I am just as happy when they insult me, as when they honor me, if in both cases the benefit to them is equal. – To return to dust is common to humans and animals alike, however, humans are not just flesh but also spirit, thus humans are destined for immortality.

15

If I am happy about their benefit and devotion when they praise and honor me, which can be a danger to the soul, it is even more fitting that I should rejoice and be happy at my benefit and the salvation of my soul when they revile me as they throw me out in shame, which is profit for the soul and for salvation. – Our Father! Let us repeat this pray often during Lent; let us repeat it with deep emotion.

16

One day, when blessed Francis was returning from prayer, he said with great joy to his companions: I must be the form and example of all the brothers; so, although it is necessary for my body to have a tunic with patches, nevertheless I must take into consideration my brothers who have the same need, but perhaps do not and cannot have this. – By calling God ‘our Father’, we will better realize that we are his children and feel that we are brothers and sisters of one another.

17

Therefore, I must stay down with them to suffer those same necessities they suffer so that in seeing this, they may be able to bear them more patiently. – Do not be afraid to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern ‘metropolis’.

18

At all times, especially after the brothers began to multiply and he resigned the office of prelate, blessed Francis had as his highest and principle goal to teach the brothers more by actions than by words, what they ought to do and what they ought to avoid. – It is you who must ‘go out into the byroads and invite everyone you meet to the banquet which God has prepared for his people.

19

Noticing and hearing at one time that some brothers were giving a bad example in religion and that the brothers were turning aside from the highest summit of their profession, moved inwardly with sorrow, one time he said to the Lord in prayer: Lord I give back to you the family you gave me. – To St. Joseph, the husband of Mary, God entrusted the safekeeping of the Eternal Word, made man by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary.  For all believers he is a model of life in faith.

20

And the Lord said to him in spirit: Tell me, why are you upset when one of the brothers leaves the religion and when others do not walk the way I showed you?  Also tell me: Who planted the religion of the brothers? Who makes a man convert and to do penance in it?  Who gives the strength to persevere in it?  Is it not I? – As never before man’s gaze is open to the wonders of the universe. And the marvel of it all is a constant call to ponder ever more seriously the greatness of man’s own destiny and his dependence upon the Creator.

21

And it was said to him in spirit: I did not choose you as a learned or eloquent man to be over my family, but I chose you, a simple man, so that you and the others may know that I will watch over my flock. – Be rooted in faith and feel strong in the Lord and in the strengthen of his might.

22

I have placed you as a sign to them, so that the works that I work in you, they should see in you, emulate and do them. – Jesus’ victory over the evil one assures us that we will not succumb at the moment of trial as long as we remain united to the Lord.

23

Those who walk in my way have and will then have more abundantly; while those who refuse to walk in my way, that which they seem to have will be taken away from them. – Lent invites us to make a special commitment to the process of spiritual growth.

24

Therefore, I tell you, don’t be sad; do what you do, work as you work, for I have planted the religion of the brothers in everlasting love. Know that I love it so much that if any brother…dies outside religion I will replace him with another in religion who will have his crown in his place … – Responding to God’s voice resounding in the depths of our conscience and choosing good is the most sublime use of human freedom.  (adapted)

25

Blessed Francis often said to the brothers in chapters and also in his words of instruction: I have sworn and declared to observe the Rule of the brothers and all the brothers also pledged the same.  For this reason, after I resigned office among the brothers from now on, because of illnesses and for the greater good of my soul and those of all the brothers, I am bound in regard to the brothers only to show good example. – The Annunciation celebrates Eternal Love made flesh, so that the creature might share Life with its Creator.

26

The greatest help I can render to the religion of the brothers is to spend time in prayer to the Lord for it everyday, that He govern, preserve, protect, and defend it… – God is not just mercy, but above all love.

27

I have pledged myself to this, to the Lord and to the brothers, that if any one of the brothers perishes because of my bad example, I be held to render an account to the Lord. – To follow Christ in doing the will of the Father is the key to the fullness of life which he promises.  (adapted)

28

The brothers have their Rule, and furthermore have sworn to it. And so they have no excuse … So, since the brothers already know what they should do and what to avoid, the only thing left for me to do is to teach them by actions, because this is why I have been given to them during my life and after my death. – After having drawn the light of the word and the strength of the sacraments, the faithful must announce and testify Christ, the only Redeemer of humanity, in the society to which the belong.

29

One day when blessed Francis met a poor man, he said: I am greatly ashamed when I find someone poorer than myself.  I chose holy poverty as my Lady, my delight, and my riches of spirit and body.  And the whole world has heard this news, that I professed poverty before God and people.  Therefore I ought to be ashamed when I come upon someone poorer than myself. – The Ten Commandments are not an arbitrary imposition of a tyrannical Lord.  They were written first on the human heart as the universal moral law, valid in every time and place, before they were written in stone.

30

Blessed Francis said: For my part, I want only this privilege from the Lord: not to have any privilge from any human being, except to show reverence to all, and, by the obedience of the holy Rule, to convert everyone more by example than by word. – Every genuine human love is a reflection of the love that is God himself, to the point where : ‘The man without love has known nothing of God’.

31

Blessed Francis used to say: Nothing should displease a servant of God except sin … The servant of God who does not become angry or disturbed at anyone lives correctly without anything of his own … Woe to that religious who does not hold in his heart the good things the Lord reveals to him and does not reveal them by his behavior, but, under the guise of a reward, wishes to reveal them with his words. – The people of God cannot hope to live the life of their Master if they do not assimilate the very words which have been passed on to them.

 

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