Feast of St. Francis of Assisi
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Today is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Today’s NY Times has an article about Pope Francis and his new living of what St. Francis was about 800 years ago – read it here.
History says this was not actually written by St. Francis, but certainly connected to him. Regardless, it is one of the most powerful prayers ever articulated because it calls us to bring change to the world from deep within ourselves..
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying to ourselves that we are born to eternal life.
~The prayer of St. Francis
Thank You Lord
This morning when I awoke, my first thought was Thank You. I have fallen into that habit in recent months, so it has now become instinctual. Thank You Lord. More and more, I want to adopt this attitude of gratitude – regardless of my immediate circumstances. When things are going well, say thank you Lord for the blessings. When things aren’t going well, say thank you Lord that you carry me through the trials. You save me, you love me, you humble me, you teach me, you strengthen me, you prepare me for greater things, you love through me way beyond my small human heart’s capacity, you draw others to yourself through my abiding, supernatural peace and joy that springs from you in my soul – especially when life is most difficult. Thank you Lord. The letters spell TyL. TyL the next moment, TyL the next blessing, TyL the next challenge, TyL the next day, TyL the next life, TyL the next time when I will know love or share love. Thank you Lord.
Running with a strong wind at your back is dramatically easier than if you have no wind. Likewise, running into a strong wind is all the more difficult. Life can often feel like we are constantly running into the winds of change, of trial and turmoil. However, there is a strong wind at our back that will counter our headwinds and propel us forward – if we recognize it and allow ourselves to be carried by it. That wind is the Holy Spirit – a driving powerful force that is greater than us and every one of our life encounters. Come Holy Spirit, fill us with the fire of your Love. Be the wind at our backs, boosting us to be your unstoppable force for good as we seek to fulfill our sacred mission.
The Body Of Christ – What Say You?
As each Catholic comes to receive Communion at Mass, they hear the words…”The Body of Christ”…to which they reply “Amen” meaning “Yes.” The Body of Christ is the real presence of Jesus, pierced but beautifully alive in resurrected form – just as He presented Himself to the disciples and to many other witnesses after the crucifixion. Receiving the Body of Christ is a touch of pure heaven. In receiving the life of Jesus to be held within our frail form, we say we are not worthy, but yes – “Amen.”
Yet there is more. Another powerful dimension of the Body of Christ that we are offered is a different kind of Communion – the community of disciples, imperfect people called together to live the greatest mission ever conceived. This Body of Christ also begs from us an Amen – a yes. The gift of the living Jesus and the gift of the Church are freely given to us, but not forced on us. We are free to walk away – as many did in Jesus day and many do today. What about you? Though you cannot possibly fully understand the depth of the mystery, will you freely choose to step forward in faith to say Amen? Hundreds of millions of people before you have been offered the very same choice. Many walked forward to say Amen, and many others chose to walk away. The only thing you must do is decide, because not deciding is to say no by default. God designed this choice to be freely made so that nothing but Love would define the answer. You are free to say yes or no to the Body of Christ. What say you?