Brothers and sisters:
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me,
and I to the world.
For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision,
but only a new creation.
Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule and to the Israel of God.
From now on, let no one make troubles for me;
for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit,
brothers and sisters. Amen. (Gal 6:14-18)
Today’s feast of St. Francis helps us to remember a simple, humble man.
He was so simple that, when God asked him to rebuild His Church as Francis was praying in the church of San Damiano, Francis thought that God literally meant the church building. Francis had no idea God meant the Church at large.
So, in his simplicity, Francis began to rebuild St. Damien, rock by rock.
Only later, did Francis realize that God had much more in store for him than that.
When we hear the stories of St. Francis — of his simplicity, his humility, his piety — we often get that little smirk of a smile on our faces and think, “What a simple, honest, holy guy.”
Hey, folks . . . that simple, honest, holy person is supposed to be you and me as well!
God calls us to work in His Church. We reminded ourselves earlier this week that God called us to be laborers in the vineyard.
As Francis embraced God’s call, one evening in prayer, he was embraced by God. Francis received the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, on his hands and feet and in his side. Those wounds were a constant source of pain to Francis to the very last moment of his life. Yet, those wounds reminded Francis of just how much God cared for him and loved him.
We often fail to follow the Lord completely whenever following may involve pain or hardship or sacrifice. Today, in faithfulness and trust, let us do all that we can to embrace the call of God.
FAITH ACTION: Pray the Prayer of St. Francis, contemplating upon the meaning of each phrase. Let it speak to your soul this day.
Lord, make me an instrument of thy 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;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.