Pope Francis’ Message for World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation 9/1/20

The Holy See
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS
POPE FRANCIS
FOR THE
WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE CARE OF CREATION
1 SEPTEMBER 2020

“You shall thus hallow the fiftieth year
and you shall proclaim a release throughout the land
to all its inhabitants.
It shall be a jubilee for you.”
(Lev 25:10)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Each year, particularly since the publication of the Encyclical Laudato Si’ (LS, 24 may 2015), the
first day of September is celebrated by the Christian family as the World Day of Prayer for the
Care of Creation and the beginning of the Season of Creation, which concludes on the feast of
Saint Francis of Assisi on the fourth of October. During this period, Christians worldwide renew
their faith in the God of creation and join in prayer and work for the care of our common home.
I am very pleased that the theme chosen by the ecumenical family for the celebration of the 2020
Season of Creation is Jubilee for the Earth, precisely in this year that marks the fiftieth anniversary
of Earth Day. In the Holy Scriptures, a Jubilee is a sacred time to remember, return, rest, restore,
and rejoice.

A Time to Remember
We are invited to remember above all that creation’s ultimate destiny is to enter into God’s eternal
Sabbath. This journey, however, takes place in time, spanning the seven-day rhythm of the week,
the cycle of seven years, and the great Jubilee Year that comes at the end of the seven Sabbath
years.

1.  A Jubilee is indeed a time of grace to remember creation’s original vocation to exist and flourish as
a community of love. We exist only in relationships: with God the Creator, with our brothers and
sisters as members of a common family, and with all of God’s creatures within our common home.
“Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful
pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us
in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth” (LS, 92)
A Jubilee, then, is a time of remembrance, in which we cherish the memory of our inter-relational
existence. We need constantly to remember that “everything is interconnected, and that genuine
care for our own lives and our relationships with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and
faithfulness to others” (LS, 70).

2. A Time to Return
A Jubilee is a time to turn back in repentance. We have broken the bonds of our relationship with
the Creator, with our fellow human beings, and with the rest of creation. We need to heal the
damaged relationships that are essential to supporting us and the entire fabric of life.
A Jubilee is a time to return to God our loving Creator. We cannot live in harmony with creation if
we are not at peace with the Creator who is the source and origin of all things. As Pope Benedict
observed, “the brutal consumption of creation begins where God is missing, where matter has
become simply material for us, where we ourselves are the ultimate measure, where everything is
simply our property” (Meeting with Priests, Deacons, and Seminarians of the Diocese of BolzanoBressanone, 6 August 2008).

The Jubilee season calls us to think once again of our fellow human beings, especially the poor
and the most vulnerable. We are asked to re-appropriate God’s original and loving plan of creation
as a common heritage, a banquet which all of our brothers and sisters share in a spirit of
conviviality, not in competitive scramble but in joyful fellowship, supporting and protecting one
another. A Jubilee is a time for setting free the oppressed and all those shackled in the fetters of
various forms of modern slavery, including trafficking in persons and child labour.
We also need once more to listen to the land itself, which Scripture calls adamah, the soil from
which man, Adam, was made. Today we hear the voice of creation admonishing us to return to our
rightful place in the natural created order – to remember that we are part of this interconnected
web of life, not its masters. The disintegration of biodiversity, spiralling climate disasters, and
unjust impact of the current pandemic on the poor and vulnerable: all these are a wakeup call in
the face of our rampant greed and consumption.

Particularly during this Season of Creation, may we be attentive to the rhythms of this created
world. For the world was made to communicate the glory of God, to help us to discover in its
beauty the Lord of all, and to return to him (cf. SAINT BONAVENTURE, In II Sent., I, 2, 2, q. 1,
conclusion; Breviloquium, II, 5.11). The earth from which we were made is thus a place of prayer
and meditation. “Let us awaken our God-given aesthetic and contemplative sense” (Querida
Amazonia, 56). The capacity to wonder and to contemplate is something that we can learn
especially from our indigenous brothers and sisters, who live in harmony with the land and its
multiple forms of life.

3. A Time to Rest
In his wisdom, God set aside the Sabbath so that the land and its inhabitants could rest and be
renewed. These days, however, our way of life is pushing the planet beyond its limits. Our
constant demand for growth and an endless cycle of production and consumption are exhausting
the natural world. Forests are leached, topsoil erodes, fields fail, deserts advance, seas acidify
and storms intensify. Creation is groaning!

During the Jubilee, God’s people were invited to rest from their usual labour and to let the land
heal and the earth repair itself, as individuals consumed less than usual. Today we need to find
just and sustainable ways of living that can give the Earth the rest it requires, ways that satisfy
everyone with a sufficiency, without destroying the ecosystems that sustain us.

In some ways, the current pandemic has led us to rediscover simpler and sustainable lifestyles.
The crisis, in a sense, has given us a chance to develop new ways of living. Already we can see
how the earth can recover if we allow it to rest: the air becomes cleaner, the waters clearer, and
animals have returned to many places from where they had previously disappeared. The
pandemic has brought us to a crossroads. We must use this decisive moment to end our
superfluous and destructive goals and activities, and to cultivate values, connections and activities
that are life-giving. We must examine our habits of energy usage, consumption, transportation,
and diet. We must eliminate the superfluous and destructive aspects of our economies, and
nurture life-giving ways to trade, produce, and transport goods.

4. A Time to Restore
A Jubilee is a time to restore the original harmony of creation and to heal strained human
relationships.

It invites us to re-establish equitable societal relationships, restoring their freedom and goods to all
and forgiving one another’s debts. We should not forget the historic exploitation of the global
South that has created an enormous ecological debt, due mainly to resource plundering and
excessive use of common environmental space for waste disposal. It is a time for restorative
justice. In this context, I repeat my call for the cancellation of the debt of the most vulnerable
countries, in recognition of the severe impacts of the medical, social and economic crises they
face as a result of Covid-19. We also need to ensure that the recovery packages being developed
and deployed at global, regional and national levels must be regeneration packages. Policy,
legislation and investment must be focused on the common good and guarantee that global social
and environmental goals are met.

We also need to restore the land. Climate restoration is of utmost importance, since we are in the
midst of a climate emergency. We are running out of time, as our children and young people have
reminded us. We need to do everything in our capacity to limit global average temperature rise
under the threshold of 1.5°C enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement, for going beyond that will
prove catastrophic, especially for poor communities around the world. We need to stand up for
intra-generational and inter-generational solidarity at this critical moment. I invite all nations to
adopt more ambitious national targets to reduce emissions, in preparation for the important
Climate Summit (COP 26) in Glasgow in the United Kingdom.

Biodiversity restoration is also crucially important in the context of unprecedented loss of species
and degradation of ecosystems. We need to support the U.N. call to safeguard 30% of the earth
as protected habitats by 2030 in order to stem the alarming rate of biodiversity loss. I urge the
international community to work together to guarantee that the Summit on Biodiversity (COP 15) in
Kunming, China becomes a turning point in restoring the earth to be a home of life in abundance,
as willed by the Creator.

We must restore with justice in mind, ensuring that those who have lived on the land for
generations can regain control over its usage. Indigenous communities must be protected from
companies, particularly multinational companies, that “operate in less developed countries in ways
they could never do at home” (LS, 51), through the destructive extraction of fossil fuels, minerals,
timber and agroindustrial products. This corporate misconduct is a “new version of colonialism”
(SAINT JOHN PAUL II, Address to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, 27 April 2001, cited
in Querida Amazonia, 14), one that shamefully exploits poorer countries and communities
desperately seeking economic development. We need to strengthen national and international
legislation to regulate the activities of extractive companies and ensure access to justice for those
affected.

5. A Time to Rejoice
In the biblical tradition, a Jubilee was a joyous occasion, inaugurated by a trumpet blast
resounding throughout the land. We are aware that the cries of the earth and of the poor have
become even louder and more painful in recent years. At the same time, we also witness how the
Holy Spirit is inspiring individuals and communities around the world to come together to rebuild
our common home and defend the most vulnerable in our midst. We see the gradual emergence
of a great mobilization of people from below and from the peripheries who are generously working
for the protection of the land and of the poor. We rejoice to see how young people and
communities, particularly indigenous communities, are on the frontlines in responding to the
ecological crisis. They are calling for a Jubilee for the earth and a new beginning, aware that
“things can change” (LS, 13).

We also rejoice to see how the Laudato Si’ Special Anniversary Year is inspiring many initiatives
at local and global levels for the care of our common home and the poor. This year should lead to
long-term action plans to practise integral ecology in our families, parishes and dioceses, religious
orders, our schools and universities, our healthcare, business and agricultural institutions, and
many others as well.

We rejoice too that faith communities are coming together to create a more just, peaceful and
sustainable world. We are particularly happy that the Season of Creation is becoming a truly
ecumenical initiative. Let us continue to grow in the awareness that we all live in a common home
as members of a single family.

Let us all rejoice that our loving Creator sustains our humble efforts to care for the earth, which is
also God’s home where his Word “became flesh and lived among us” (Jn 1:14) and which is
constantly being renewed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

“Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth” (cf. Ps 104:30).
Rome, Saint John Lateran, 1 September 2020
FRANCISCUS
©Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana
5

Praying the Rule

Praying the Rule

Lord, our God, we intend to make present the charism of our Seraphic Father Francis in the life and mission of the Church, in various ways and forms but in life-giving union with one another. By our profession, we pledge ourselves to live the Gospel in the manner of St Francis by means of our Rule approved by the Church (Arts. 1-3). Help us, we pray, so that daily we may:

  • observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of St Francis, going from gospel to life and from life to the gospel (Art. 4);
  • seek to encounter the living and active person of Jesus Christ in our brothers and sisters, in sacred scripture, in the Church and in the Eucharist (Art. 5);
  • go forth as witnesses and instruments of the Church’s mission among people, proclaiming Christ by our life and words (Art. 6);
  • conform our thoughts and deeds to those of Christ by the radical interior change which the Gospel calls “conversion”, making use of the sacrament of reconciliation on the way to renewal (Art. 7);
  • let prayer and contemplation be the soul of all we are and do (Art. 8);
  • imitate the Virgin Mary’s complete self-giving in her openness to your every word and call (Art. 9);
  • faithfully fulfill the duties proper to our various circumstances in life (Art. 10);
  • seek the proper spirit of detachment and purify our hearts from every tendency and yearning for possession and power (Art. 11);
  • acquire the purity of heart needed to set ourselves free to love God and our brothers and sisters (Art. 12);
  • accept all people as your gift, Lord, and an image of Christ (Art. 13);
  • exercise our responsibilities competently in the Christian spirit of service (Art. 14);
  • be in the forefront of promoting justice by the testimony of our human lives and by courageous initiatives (Art. 15);
  • esteem work both as a gift and as a sharing in the creation, redemption and service of the human community (Art. 16);
  • cultivate the Franciscan spirit of peace, fidelity and respect for life in our families, striving to make it a sign of a world already renewed in Christ (Art. 17);
  • respect all creatures, animate and inanimate “as bearing the imprint of the Most High” (Art. 18);
  • be bearers of peace and messengers of perfect joy in every circumstance, as immersed in the resurrection of Christ, we serenely tend towards Sister Death and our ultimate encounter with you, our Father (Art. 19).

All this we ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Brother. Amen.

 

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Thoughts for the Day, April 2020 by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

April 2020

Our Father most holy: Our Creator, Redeemer, Consoler, and Savior

You, Lord, are Supreme Good, the eternal Good,  from Whom all good comes

Holy be your Name…That You may rule in us through Your grace…

Your will be done that we may love You with our whole heart, soul, and mind

Give us this day Your own beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Forgive us through Your ineffable mercy and make us, Lord, forgive completely.

And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil.

Amen

(Prayer Inspired  by the Our Father – abbreviated)

Following are daily excerpts taken from various Franciscan writings

 1

Once there was a great war between the citizens of Perugia and Assisi. Francis was captured … and …endured the squalor of prison.  His fellow captives were overcome with sadness … but Francis rejoiced in the Lord. (2Celano,bk.1,chpt.1) – Anyone can stand up to an opponent: give me someone who can stand up to a friend.

2

Though staying in a pit and in darkness, he was imbued with an indescribable happiness never before experienced. (1 Celano,bk.1,chpt.5) – I may have all the faith needed to move mountains, but if I have no love, I am nothing.

3

He rose therefore swift, energetic and joyful, carrying the shield of faith for the Lord, and strengthened with the armor of great confidence, he set out for the city. (1Celano,bk.1,chpt.5) – We get no deeper into Christ than we allow him to get in us.

4

Though delighting for the most part (in his dream), he silently wondered to himself about its meaning…With a happy spirit he awoke the next morning…Considering his vision a prediction of great success… (1Celano,bk.1,chpt.2) – The Gospels do not explain Easter; Easter explains the Gospels.

5

When morning came, then, he returned in haste to Assisi, free of care and filled with joy, and, already made an exemplar of obedience, he awaited the Lord’s will. (Major Legend,chpt.1,#3) – The lives of Jesus’ followers changed the course of human history. No reasonable explanation has ever been given for their transformed lives except their own: they had seen Jesus alive.

6

Saint Francis with his brothers rejoiced greatly at the task and the favor given by so great a father and lord.  They gave thanks to Almighty God, who places the lowly on high and raises up mourners to health. (1Celano,bk.1,chpt.14) – That which you cannot let go of, you do not possess.  It possesses you.

7

They had great joy, because they saw nothing and had nothing that could give them empty or carnal delight…Only divine consolation delighted them, having put aside all their cares about earthly things. (1Celano,bk.1,chpt.14) – One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore.

8

This holy man insisted that spiritual joy was an infallible remedy against a thousand snares and tricks of the enemy.  He used to say: ’The devil is most delighted when he can steal the joy of spirit from a servant of God’. (2Celano,bk.2,chpt.88) – We can live forty days without food, eight minutes without air, but about one second without hope.

9

‘But if spiritual joy fills the heart, the serpent casts its poison in vain. The devils cannot harm a servant of Christ when they see him, filled with holy cheerfulness.’ (2Celano,bk.2,chpt.88)  – Our job is not to do something for the Church, but to do something with it.

10

The saint therefore always strove to keep a joyful heart, to preserve the anointing of the spirit and the oil of gladness. He avoided very carefully the dangerous disease of melancholy, so that when he felt even a little of it slipping into his heart, he quickly rushed to prayer.  (2Celano,bk.2,chpt.88) – No one ever made more trouble than the Gentle Jesus, meek and mild.

11

O martyr, laughing and rejoicing, who endured so gladly what was bitter and painful for others to see! (1Celano,bk.2,chpt.7) – Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, faith looks up.

12

I see that (the devils) cannot harm me through myself.  Indeed whenever I feel tempted and depressed and I look at the joy of my companion, because of that joy I immediately turn away from temptation and melancholy toward inner and outer joy. (Mirror Perfection, #96) –The person who isn’t busy being born is busy dying.

13

By a joyful face he understood the fervor and solicitude, the disposition and readiness of a mind and body to willingly undertake every good work; because through this kind of fervor and disposition others are motivated than through the good deed itself. (Mirror Perfection, #96) – We can’t understand the Holy Spirit, but we can understand the Spirit’s impact on our lives.

14

He did not want to see a gloomy face, which more often shows laziness, a closed mind, and a body listless for every good work. (Mirror of Perfection,#96) – I cannot change the whole world, but I can change a small part if it…myself.

15

It is not right for a servant of God to show himself  to others sad and upset, but always pleasant.  Deal with your offenses in your room, and weep and moan before your God. (2Celano,bk.2,chpt.91) – God is already in our lives.  Our business is to recognize this.

16

Wherever the brothers may be and in whatever place they meet they should respect spiritually and attentively one another, and honor one another without complaining.  Let them be careful not to appear outwardly as sad and gloomy but show themselves joyful, cheerful and consistently gracious in the Lord. (Earlier Rule,#7) – Blessed are they who place themselves in the hands of Jesus.  He will place himself in their hands.

17

They (the brothers) walked with joy wherever they went, speaking among themselves about the words of the Lord, and saying nothing among themselves which did not serve the glory and praise of God, and the good of the soul. (Three Companions,chpt.12) – What we usually pray to God is not that his will be done, but that he approve ours.

18

When they laughed, they were filled with happiness and spiritual joy, so that they no longer remembered the adversities they experienced. (Anonymous of Perugia,chpt.6) – How else but through a broken heart may the Lord Christ enter in?

19

Whether ill or in good health they (the brothers) were always joyful and patient. (Anonymous of Perugia,chpt.6) – Only when we learn to see the invisible, will we learn to do the impossible.

20

They were always joyful in the Lord, having nothing within them or among them that could in some way bring them sadness. (Three Companions,chpt.11) – The effect of our sharing in the body and blood of Christ is to change us into what we receive.

21

Blessed is that religious who has no pleasure and joy except in the most holy words and deeds of the Lord and, with these, leads people to the love of God with gladness and joy. (Admonitions,#20) – Nature does not know extinction.  All it knows is transformation.

22

He himself felt great joy in the Lord when he heard the words of Sacred Scripture. (Legend of Perugia,#38) – Often the ‘god’ that people reject is not the true God, but a mistaken notion of God that exists only in their minds.

23

If a servant of God always strives to have and preserve internally and externally the spiritual joy that proceeds from purity of heart and is acquired through the devotion of prayer, the evils could do him no harm. (Mirror of Perfection,#95) – Lord, help us to deal with ugly situations in a beautiful way.

24

Because spiritual joy springs from integrity of heart and the purity of constant prayer, it must be your primary concern to acquire and preserve these two virtues, to possess internal, as well as external joy. (Mirror of Perfection,#95) – To be ignorant of the scriptures is to be ignorant of Christ.

25

Whenever he used to say your name, O holy Lord, he was moved in a way beyond human understanding.  He was so wholly taken up in joy, filled with pure delight, that he truly seemed a new person of another age. (1Celano,chpt.29) – Jesus came not to eradicate suffering, but to fill it with his presence.

26

Sometimes he used to do this: a sweet melody of the spirit bubbling up inside him would become a French tune on the outside; the thread of a divine whisper which his ears heard secretly would break out in French song of joy. (2Celano,bk.2,chpt.89) – The old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind.

27

(The thieves) beat him and threw him into a ditch filled with snow, saying, ’Lie there, you stupid herald of God!’… He jumped out of the ditch, and exhilarated with a great joy, he began in an even louder voice to make the woods resound with praises to the Creator of all. (Major Legend,.chpt.2) – The living Christ still has two hands, one to point the way, and the other held out to help us along the way.

28

Where there is poverty with joy, there is neither greed nor avarice. (Admonitions,#27) – If Christ were standing before me now, what would I feel, not about him, but about myself?

29

(Saint Francis dying, said to Brother Elias) ’Allow me to rejoice in the Lord, Brother, and to sing His praises in my infirmities, because, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, I am so closely united and joined with my Lord, that, through His mercy, I can well rejoice in the Most High Himself.’ (Mirror of Perfection,#121) – The goal of religion is not to get us into heaven, but to get heaven into us.

30

(As Saint Francis lay dying the guardian) took the tunic with a cord and underwear, and offered them to the little poor man of Christ, saying: ’I am lending these to you as to a poor man, and you are to keep them with the command of holy obedience. At this the holy man rejoiced and was delighted in the gladness of his heart, because he saw that he had kept faith until the end with Lady Poverty. (Major Legend,chpt.14) – You cannot have God for your Father, if you don’t have the Church for your mother.

 

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Glorious Day for the Region!

Brothers and sisters, may the Lord give you peace!  It is not often enough that there is joyful news to share but today is certainly one of those days.  After studying for 20 months, the first Lay Spiritual Assistants’ Class has finished and produced 5 newly certified Lay Spiritual Assistants.  They are: Kathy Agosto, OFS, Liz Bueding, OFS, Imelda Cruz, OFS, Edith Kurzweil, OFS, and Jean Peziak, OFS,
These ladies have worked hard and are to be congratulated!  Many, many thanks to the Lay Spiritual Assistants’ Team:  Justin Carisio, OFS, Marie Clardy, OFS and Cindy Louden, OFS.  Although the ‘students’ worked hard, the team worked harder!  A great effort by all involved has certainly produced fruit!

Thought for the Day by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap January 2019

January 2019


Lord, just as I believe that at an earlier time

(I may have been sinful and not fully open to Your will)

so now I realize that, because of Your abundant mercy

and in Your own time, You have shown an abundance of Your mercies to (me)

Give glory to Your name,

(may I) offer the fragrance of good life, doctrine, and good reputation

to the whole Christian people.

I ask you therefore, Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies,

not to consider (my) ingratitude.

May (I) always be mindful of the abundant mercies which you have shown (me),

that (I) may always … glorify Your name blessed and glorious throughout the ages.

Amen.

(Paraphrase [in parenthesis] of the blessing of  Saint Francis for the City of Assisi)

Daily reflections are taken from various sources

1

Blessed Francis held that to beg for alms for the love of the lord God was of the greatest nobility, dignity, and courtesy before God and before this world … blessed Francis would say that a servant of God must beg alms for the love of God with greater freedom and joy – In order to love Jesus, we must offer to others the gift of ourselves.

2

I must be a model to your poor.  Especially because I know that in the life and religion of the brothers there are and will be Lesser Brothers, in name and in deed, humble in all things, obedient and of service to their brothers. – It is only in the giving of ourselves through charity, service and compassion that we can experience true joy.

3

At…Rivo Torto, there was a brother…who prayed little, did not work, and did not want to go for alms…blessed Francis…told him:  Go on your way, Brother Fly, because you want to feed on the labor of your brothers, but wish to be idle in the work of God…he went away…and did not ask for mercy.  – Suffering is transformed and elevated when, in those moments, we become aware of God’s closeness and solidarity.

4

When blessed Francis lay gravely ill…he often asked his companions during the day to sing the Praises of the Lord which he had composed a long time before his illness. – There is something of the apostle Thomas in every human being.  Each one is tempted by unbelief.

5

(Blessed Francis said to Brother Elias) Allow me to rejoice in the Lord, Brother, and to sing His praises in my infirmities, because, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, I am closely united and joined with my Lord, through His mercy, I can well rejoice in the Most High Himself. – We have to open our eyes and our heart to the light of the Holy Spirit.

6

Blessed Francis did not want to address anyone called ‘Good’ by their name, out of reverence for the Lord, who said: No one is good but God alone.  – May every family truly rediscover its own vocation to love!

7

(Blessed Francis) did not want to call anyone ‘father’ or ‘master’, nor write them in letters, out of reverence for the Lord who said:  Call no one on earth your father nor be called masters, etc. – Do not separate your faith from your daily life and your daily life from your faith, as so many people do today.

8

(Blessed Francis said to the doctor): Tell me the truth. How does it look to you?  Do not be afraid,  for by the grace of God, I am not a coward who fears death… – The life and the whole being of each Christian must be unified around a central axis: fidelity to Jesus Christ.

9

With the Lord’s help, by His mercy and grace, I am so united and joined with my Lord that I am equally as happy to die as I am to live – In every circumstance, the starting point is to intensify prayer (in order) to increase one’s faith and make it more vigorous.

10

At the beginning of the religion, when blessed Francis would go with a brother who was one of the first twelve brothers, that brother would greet men and women along the way as well as those in their field, saying: May the Lord give you peace. – God alone is our true and unfailing support.

11

Blessed Francis instructed all the brothers … that they should not abandon holy and devout prayer. Going for alms, and working with hands like the other brothers, for good example and for the benefit of their souls as well as others   – Love and prayer are the only sure spiritual levers with which it is possible to lift up the world.

12

(Blessed Francis said): The brothers who are subjects are very edified when their ministers and preachers devote themselves freely to prayer; and the subjects are inclined to humility, when they see the prelates and the greater ones co-operating in their enterprises and labors. – We are all called to live a life of holiness.

13

That faithful disciple and imitator of Christ (Blessed Francis), while he was in good health, practiced what he taught the brothers. –   In baptism God has chosen each one of us ‘to be holy and spotless and to live through love in his presence’.

14

From the time of his conversion till the day of his death, blessed Francis, whether healthy or sick, was always concerned to know and follow the will of the Lord. – The Holy Spirit makes man realize his own evil and at the same time directs him toward what is good.

15

Blessed Francis praised God with great fervor of spirit and joy of body and soul, and told (the brother who informed him of his terminal condition): If I am to die soon, call Brother Angelo and Brother Leo that they may sing to me about Sister death. – Thanks to the multiplicity of the Spirit’s gifts, every kind of human sin can be reached by God’s saving power.

16

From the beginning of his conversion blessed Francis, with God’s help, like a wise man, established himself and his house, that is, the religion, on a firm rock, the greatest humility and poverty of the Son of God, calling it the religion of ‘Lesser Brothers’ – Love nothing more than Christ who reveals to the world the mystery of divine love and true human dignity.

17

After the brothers grew in number, he wanted the brothers to stay in hospitals of lepers to serve them…whenever nobles and commoners came to the religion, they were told, among other things, that they had to serve the lepers and stay in their houses. – True relationships are rich in inner depth, gratuitousness, and self-sacrifice.

18

Let the brothers remain as strangers and pilgrims in the houses in which they stay.  Let them not seek to have anything under heaven, except holy poverty, by which, in this world, they are nourished by God with bodily food and virtue, and, in the next, will attain a heavenly inheritance. – Love Christ present in those burdened by illness.

19

The bishop (of Terni) said: …God has beautified his Church with this little poor man, lowly, unlettered…And because of this you should live and honor the Lord and avoid sin for He has done thus for every nation. – Call with faith on the name of Jesus (and experience the power that flows from that Name).

20

Blessed Francis bowed down before the Lord Bishop and fell down at his feet, saying to him … (People) attribute glory and holiness to the creature, not to the Creator. You, however, like a discerning man, have separated what is precious from what is vile. – Provided that we approach the word of God and listen to it as it really is, it brings us into contact with God himself.

21

If at any moment the Lord wanted to take back the treasure He has loaned to me, what would I have left except just body and soul, which even non-believers have? – The word of God brings us into contact with Christ, the Word of God, the Truth, who is at the same time both the Way and the Life.

22

I must believe, rather, that if the Lord had granted a thief and even a non-believer as many gifts as He has given me, they would be more faithful to the Lord than I. –The Holy Spirit is the author of our sanctification.

23

… a servant of God … must not attribute anything to himself, but give all honor and glory to God.  He should not attribute anything to himself while he is alive except shame and trouble, because, while he is alive, the flesh is always opposed to God’s gifts. – The Holy Spirit transforms us deep down, divinizes us, makes us participants in divine nature, just as fire makes metal incandescent, just as spring water quenches thirst.

24

A few years after his conversion he resigned the office of prelate (superior) before all the brothers during a chapter held at Saint Mary of the Portiuncula.  From now on, he said, I am dead to you.  But here is Brother Peter di Catanio: let us all, you and I, obey him. – Christians need reconciliation with one another; we need mutual forgiveness.

25

I want you to put one of my companions in your place regarding me, so that I may obey him as I would obey you.  For the sake of good example and the virtue of obedience, in life and in death I always want you to be with me. – (We should not be afraid) of openly and courageously expressing our faith in Christ in our daily lives, especially in works of charity and solidarity with those who are in need.

26

Among other favors, the Most High has given me this grace: I would obey a novice who entered our religion today, if he were appointed my guardian, just as readily as I would obey him who is the first and the eldest in the life and religion of the brothers. –  Be men and women of integrity and sound moral character worthy of the respect and trust we seek from others.

27

A subject should not consider his prelate, a human being, but God, for love of Whom he is subject to him… But the Most High gave me this grace: that I want to be content with all, as one who is lesser in the religion. – We must enrich the world not only by the gifts God has entrusted to us, but also by our goodness.

28

Frequently, when some of the brothers did not provide for his needs, or said something to him that would ordinarily offend a person, he would immediately go to prayer. On returning, he did not want to remember it … – The first step in evangelization is to accept the grace of conversion into our own minds and hearts, to let ourselves be reconciled to God.

29

The closer he approached death, the more careful in complete perfection he became in considering how he might live and die in complete humility and poverty. –  Our relationship with God demands times of explicit prayer, in which the relationship becomes an intense dialogue, involving every dimension of who we are.

30

A few years after he began to have brothers, (Clare) was converted to the Lord through his advice…Her conversion not only greatly edified the religion of the brothers, but also the entire Church of God. –  O Lord of life, when the moment of our definitive ‘passage’ comes, grant that we may face it with serenity, without regret for what we shall leave behind. 

31

Saturday evening before nightfall, after vespers, when blessed Francis passed to the Lord, many birds called larks flew low above then roof of the house where blessed Francis lay, wheeling in a circle and singing.  We, who were with blessed Francis, have written about this … – Jesus asks us to follow him and to imitate him along the path of love, a love which gives itself completely to the brethren out of love for God.