Oct. 4 ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI. A letter from St Francis of Assisi to all the faithful
“We must be simple, humble and pure.”
Born in Assisi, Italy, St. Francis (1182-1226) became by God’s will his instrument to teach true detachment and love to the world. He founded the religious Order of the Franciscans; with St. Clare, the Order of the Poor Clares; and the Third Order for lay people.
A letter from St Francis of Assisi to all the faithful
It was through his archangel, Saint Gabriel, that the Father above made known to the holy and glorious Virgin Mary that the worthy, holy and glorious Word of the Father would come from heaven and take from her womb the real flesh of our human frailty. Though he was wealthy beyond reckoning, he still willingly chose to be poor with his blessed mother. And shortly before his passion he celebrated the Passover with his disciples. Then he prayed to his Father saying: Father, if it be possible, let this cup be taken from me.
Nevertheless, he reposed his will in the will of his Father. The Father willed that his blessed and glorious Son, whom he gave to us and who was born for us, should through his own blood offer himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross. This was to be done not for himself through whom all things were made, but for our sins. It was intended to leave us an example of how to follow in his footsteps. And he desires all of us to be saved through him, and to receive him with pure heart and chaste body.
O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord himself said in the gospel: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul; and your neighbour as yourself. Therefore, let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind. This is his particular desire when he says: True worshippers adore the Father in spirit and truth. For all who adore him must do so in the spirit of truth. Let us also direct to him our praises and prayers saying: Our Father, who art in heaven, since we must always pray and never grow slack.
Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neighbours as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father’s children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.
℟. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven;* blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
℣. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, they shall be satisfied:* blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Let us pray.
Lord God, you made Saint Francis of Assisi Christ-like in his poverty and humility. Help us so to walk in his ways that, with joy and love, we may follow Christ your Son, and be united to you.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
ORIGINAL IMAGE. BARTOLOMÉ ESTEBAN MURILLO, SAN FRANCISCO DE ASIS. Creative commons.
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