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St. Francis of Assisi

 

Saint Francis of Assisi

Fr. Don Miller, OFM

Scenes from the Life of St Francis (Scene 7)Image: Scenes from the Life of Saint Francis (Scene 7) | Benozzo Gozzoli

Saint Francis of Assisi

Saint of the Day for October 4

(September 26, 1182 – October 3, 1226)

 

Saint Francis of Assisi’s Story

Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit, and without a sense of self-importance.

Serious illness brought the young Francis to see the emptiness of his frolicking life as leader of Assisi’s youth. Prayer—lengthy and difficult—led him to a self-emptying like that of Christ, climaxed by embracing a leper he met on the road. It symbolized his complete obedience to what he had heard in prayer: “Francis! Everything you have loved and desired in the flesh it is your duty to despise and hate, if you wish to know my will. And when you have begun this, all that now seems sweet and lovely to you will become intolerable and bitter, but all that you used to avoid will turn itself to great sweetness and exceeding joy.”

From the cross in the neglected field-chapel of San Damiano, Christ told him, “Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down.” Francis became the totally poor and humble workman.

He must have suspected a deeper meaning to “build up my house.” But he would have been content to be for the rest of his life the poor “nothing” man actually putting brick on brick in abandoned chapels. He gave up all his possessions, piling even his clothes before his earthly father–who was demanding restitution for Francis’ “gifts” to the poor–so that he would be totally free to say, “Our Father in heaven.” He was, for a time, considered to be a religious fanatic, begging from door to door when he could not get money for his work, evoking sadness or disgust to the hearts of his former friends, ridicule from the unthinking.

But genuineness will tell. A few people began to realize that this man was actually trying to be Christian. He really believed what Jesus said: “Announce the kingdom! Possess no gold or silver or copper in your purses, no traveling bag, no sandals, no staff” (Luke 9:1-3).

Francis’ first rule for his followers was a collection of texts from the Gospels. He had no intention of founding an order, but once it began he protected it and accepted all the legal structures needed to support it. His devotion and loyalty to the Church were absolute and highly exemplary at a time when various movements of reform tended to break the Church’s unity.

Francis was torn between a life devoted entirely to prayer and a life of active preaching of the Good News. He decided in favor of the latter, but always returned to solitude when he could. He wanted to be a missionary in Syria or in Africa, but was prevented by shipwreck and illness in both cases. He did try to convert the sultan of Egypt during the Fifth Crusade.

During the last years of his relatively short life, he died at 44, Francis was half blind and seriously ill. Two years before his death he received the stigmata, the real and painful wounds of Christ in his hands, feet and side.

On his deathbed, Francis said over and over again the last addition to his Canticle of the Sun, “Be praised, O Lord, for our Sister Death.” He sang Psalm 141, and at the end asked his superior’s permission to have his clothes removed when the last hour came in order that he could expire lying naked on the earth, in imitation of his Lord.


Reflection

Francis of Assisi was poor only that he might be Christ-like. He recognized creation as another manifestation of the beauty of God. In 1979, he was named patron of ecology. He did great penance–apologizing to “Brother Body” later in life–that he might be totally disciplined for the will of God. Francis’ poverty had a sister, Humility, by which he meant total dependence on the good God. But all this was, as it were, preliminary to the heart of his spirituality: living the gospel life, summed up in the charity of Jesus and perfectly expressed in the Eucharist.


Saint Francis of Assisi is the Patron Saint of:

Animals
Archaeologists
Ecology
Italy
Merchants
Messengers
Metal Workers


Click here for a reflection on Saint Francis of Assisi!


Lessons from the Life of St. Francis
Catholic Caucus: St. Francis Of Assisi And Great Pardon Known As The Portiuncula Indulgence
St. Francis, Christian Love, and the Biotechnological Future
Finding St. Francis (we don’t hear much about the saint who submitted to Church authority)
St. Francis of Assisi {ecumenical}
Francis of Assisi: Pattern for Lay Holiness
The Real St. Francis of Assisi Was Not a Garden Gnome…
Chesterton and Saint Francis
Saint Francis of Assisi, ‘giant of holiness,’ honored Oct. 4

Franciscan Brothers Follow in St. Francis’ Bare Footsteps
St. Francis of Assisi (and) St. Clare of Assisi [Catholic Caucus]
On Francis of Assisi
Franciscans ready to celebrate 800th anniversary of order’s founding
‘Stone-for-stone’ Porziuncola reproduction erected in San Francisco
Portiuncula Indulgence can be obtained this Sunday
Away in a Manger [St. Francis of Assisi and the first Nativity scene]
The Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi
St. Francis of Assisi — The Wounds of Christ
St. Clare’s Advice Defended Assisi Against An Attack By the Mohammedans (My Title)

The Way of the Cross, with Prayerful Meditations authored by Saint Francis of Assisi
Friar Assails “Lies” Against Franciscans of Assisi In Wake of Pope’s Program
color=#e00040>Cimabue’s Assisi Fresco Reconstructed
Friars Minor Support Pope’s Measures for Assisi
St. Francis of Assisi and Eucharistic Adoration
Saint Francis of Assisi’s Letter to the Clergy
World Needs the Spirit of St. Francis, Says John Paul II
Saint Francis of Assisi, Founder of the Friars Minor, Confessor 1181-1226>
Assisi frescoes rise from the rubble
Christ’s words to St. Francis, “repair my Church,” appropriate for today says Archbishop Chaput


Prayer of Saint Francis of Assissi

Lord, make me am 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;
and where there is saddness, 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 that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

Saint Francis was born in Assisi, Italy in 1182. He lived and preached a life of poverty and love of God to all men. He founded the religious Order of the Franciscans; with St. Clare, he founded the Order of the Poor Clares; and the Third Order for lay people. He died in 1226.


Information: St. Francis of Assisi

Feast Day: October 4

Born: 1181 or 1182 at Assisi, Umbria, Italy

Died: 3 October 1226 at Assisi, Italy

Canonized: 16 July 1228 by Pope Gregory IX

Major Shrine: Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi, Assisi, Italy

Patron of: against dying alone, against fire, animal welfare societies, animals, Assisi, Italy, birds, Catholic Action, ecologists, ecology, environment, families, Franciscan Order, lacemakers, merchants, needle workers, peace, tapestry workers, zoos


CATHOLIC ALMANAC

Thursday, October 4

Liturgical Color: White

Today is the Memorial of St. Francis of
Assisi. He was born in 1182, into a wealthy
family, leading a carefree life through his
youth. Following a conversion, he
renounced his wealth preferring poverty as
he preached the Gospel.


Catholic Culture

Ordinary Time: October 4th

St. Francis of Assisi, confessor

MASS READINGS

October 04, 2018 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

O God, by whose gift Saint Francis was conformed to Christ in poverty and humility, grant that, by walking in Francis’ footsteps, we may follow your Son, and, through joyful charity, come to be united with 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.

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Recipes (16)

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Activities (5)

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Prayers (6)

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Library (17)

» Enjoy our Liturgical Seasons series of e-books!

Old Calendar: St. Francis of Assisi, confessor ; Other Titles: Il Poverello

St. Francis (1182-1226) was born and died in Assisi. He was the son of a rich merchant, Bernardone, received a good education, and in the beginning followed the ways of the world. He was taken prisoner in the battle between the Assisians and Perugians, and after his release decided to abandon everything for Christ. His father became extremely displeased at his action, and disinherited him. In 1220 he founded a new order which in ten years numbered five thousand brothers. His followers were called Friars Minor because they were to consider themselves as the least among religious. Out of humility Francis never accepted the priesthood but remained a deacon all his life. He had a great love for God’s creatures and called them his brothers and sisters. His ardent love of God merited for him the name of Seraphic. This feast is celebrated today both in the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.


St. Francis of Assisi
Francis Bernardone was born in 1181 at Assisi, Umbria, Italy. The son of a wealthy cloth merchant, he lived a lavish and irresponsible life. At the age of twenty, he went to war against Perugia, but was captured and imprisoned. During his imprisonment he experienced a vision from Christ and changed his life completely. He left all his possessions and embraced complete poverty, taking the Gospel as his rule of life.

He wore ragged old clothes, begged for food and preached peace. He began to attract followers, and in 1209 with the papal blessing he founded the Friars Minor (Franciscans). Then in 1212 with St. Clare of Assisi he founded the foundation of the Order of “Poor Ladies,” now known as the “Poor Clares.” He also founded the “Third Order of Penance” (the Third Order) which included lay people. He was the first person (recorded) to receive the stigmata (the five wounds of Christ) in 1224. He died on October 4, 1226 at Portiuncula, Italy. He was canonized by Gregory IX less than two years later.

Patron: against fire; animals; Catholic Action; dying alone; ecology; environment; families; fire; lacemakers; merchants; peace; zoos; Italy; Assisi, Italy; Colorado; Sante Fe, New Mexico; archdiocese of San Francisco, California; archdiocese of Denver, Colorado; archdiocese of Sante Fe, New Mexico; diocese of Salina, Kansas.

Symbols: birds and animals; bag of gold and rich raiment at his feet; winged crucifix with five rays; stigmata; crown of thorns; lighted lamp; fiery chariot; birds; deer; fish; skull; wolf; fire.

Things to Do:

  • Pray the Canticle of the Sun, which was written by St. Francis.
  • For more reading, see the selections from the Catholic Culture Library. This page from the Franciscan Archives contains links about St. Francis of Assisi, including biographies, articles, writings, Orders & Societies, liturgical texts and art.
  • Many parishes have a Blessing of animals or pets on this day. See the Prayers column for other alternatives. St. Francis loved all of God’s creatures. Find the stories of the Wolf of Gubbio, the Sermon to the Birds, his Canticle of Creatures to see some illustrations of his honoring God’s creation.
  • St. Francis was influential on our present-day Christmas crib or creche. Find out more about this historical event. See the articles in our Activities top bar.
  • Although St. Francis is one of the most popular saints of the Church, and his feast is a huge celebration in Assisi, there are no particular foods attached to that festival. Tradition has passed on that on his deathbed he requested Frangipane cream or Moastaccioli (almond biscotti). Fire is a symbol of St. Francis, first of all because his heart was on fire with love of God, but there are other stories in Little Flowers of St. Francis that deal with fire, particularly when he prayed, the surrounding areas would become so bright that people thought the areas were on fire. So a flaming dessert or wine would be an appropriate ending of a wonderful feast. One could also try some Umbrian style recipes, or just have “Italian night” at home, even just simple spaghetti or other pasta and sauces.
  • Learn more about the Franciscan order. The Catholic Encyclopedia has a wonderful entry on St. Francis, including his Rule. And from the Catholic Culture Library you can read a detailed summary of the life of St. Francis and his founding of the Order of Friars Minor.
  • What does poverty in our state of life mean? How can I follow the Gospels like Francis?
  • Learn more about geography and history of the Umbria area, and how much Francis has impacted that area.
  • Study art and photos of Francis. Find out more about the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. Although the earthquake in 1997 damaged the basilica, it reopened in 1999.
  • Go here for Saint Francis of Assisi, The Writings of Saint Francis of Assisi, translated by Fr. Paschal Robinson in 1906.
  • Read Little Flowers of St. Francis by Brother Ugolino online or purchase a copy. This is a collection of many stories and legends of the life of St. Francis. Of particular note is his Sermon to the Birds,

    “My little sisters the birds, ye owe much to God, your Creator, and ye ought to sing his praise at all times and in all places, because he has given you liberty to fly about into all places; and though ye neither spin nor sew, he has given you a twofold and a threefold clothing for yourselves and for your offspring. Two of all your species he sent into the Ark with Noah that you might not be lost to the world; besides which, he feeds you, though ye neither sow nor reap. He has given you fountains and rivers to quench your thirst, mountains and valleys in which to take refuge, and trees in which to build your nests; so that your Creator loves you much, having thus favoured you with such bounties. Beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to give praise to God.”


The Word Among Us

Meditation: Luke 10:1-12

Saint Francis of Assisi (Memorial)

Into whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this household.” (Luke 10:5)

This verse seems particularly relevant today, on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi (1181–1226). Like the disciples in the Gospel reading, Francis and his followers wandered the countryside carrying the good news of Jesus. And like the disciples, they often did it by bringing peace and reconciliation into places of conflict.

One story in particular reveals Francis’ gift for peacemaking. In the last year of his life, the mayor of Assisi and the town’s bishop had fallen into a feud. To intervene, Francis composed a new verse of his poem “Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon”: “All praise be yours, my Lord, through those who grant pardon for love of you. . . . Happy those who endure in peace; by you Most High, they will be crowned.”

Francis sent two friars to sing this verse before the mayor and the bishop. Touched to the heart, the mayor said, “I forgive the lord bishop, whom I ought to recognize as my master.” And the bishop replied, “My office demands humility of me, but by nature I am quick to anger; you must forgive me!”

Francis understood that Jesus came to reconcile us, not only with God, but with each other as well. On a personal level, unforgiveness can destroy families and friendships—even our health and peace of mind. On a broader level, it can lead to war, conflict, and destruction. But Jesus came to preach peace by putting to death all enmity through his cross, and he wants us to try to “preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

Is there someone you need to forgive? Try to let go of your resentment. Even if it means just taking one more step, go ahead and take that step. It couldn’t have been easy for Assisi’s bishop and mayor to forgive each other, but they found the grace to try. It’s not easy for us either, but the same grace is available to us. If you just can’t forgive right now, ask God for the grace to want to forgive. Even if you feel no love for the other person, consider how much God loves them. Even if it takes a long time, he can bring you to peace.

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace!”

Job 19:21-27
Psalm 27:7-9, 13-14


Daily Gospel Commentary

Saint Pius X
Pope from 1903 to 1914

Encyclical “ E supremi apostolatus ”

Sent by Christ into the whole world

“No one,” the Apostle admonishes us, “can lay other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1Cor 3:11). It is Christ alone “whom the Father sanctified and sent into this world” (Jn 10:36), “the splendor of the Father and the image of His substance” (Heb 1:3), true God and true man: without whom nobody can know God with the knowledge for salvation, “neither doth anyone know the Father but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him” (Mt 11:27). Hence it follows that to restore all things in Christ and to lead men back to submission to God is one and the same aim. To this, then, it behoves Us to devote Our care – to lead back mankind under the dominion of Christ; this done, We shall have brought it back to God. When We say “to God” We do not mean to that inert being heedless of all things human which the dream of certain philosophers has imagined, but to the true and living God, one in nature, triple in person, Creator of the world, most wise Ordainer of all things, Lawgiver most just, who punishes the wicked and has reward in store for virtue.

Now the way to reach Christ is not hard to find: it is the Church. Rightly does Chrysostom inculcate: “The Church is thy hope, the Church is thy salvation, the Church is thy refuge.” It was for this that Christ founded it, gaining it at the price of His blood, and made it the depositary of His doctrine and His laws, bestowing upon it at the same time an inexhaustible treasury of graces for the sanctification and salvation of men. You see, then, Venerable Brethren, the duty that has been imposed upon Us…:? To form Christ in those who are destined from the duty of their vocation to form Him in others… It is the same mission… as that which Paul proclaimed in these tender words: “My little children, of whom I am in labor again until Christ be formed in you” (Gal 4:19). But how will they be able to perform this duty if they be not first clothed with Christ themselves? and so clothed with Christ as to be able to say with the Apostle: “I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). “For me to live is Christ” (Phil 1:21).


Marriage = One Man and One Woman Until Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for October 4, 2018:

What’s your decision-making style? Slow or fast? Do you weigh the pros and cons? Go with your gut feeling? How does your style mesh with that of your spouse? Being similar can make life easier, but being different can often help see different angles of the situation.


Regnum Christi

October 4, 2018 – Bumper Crop

Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi

Father Edward McIlmail, LC

 

 

Luke 10: 1-12

 

Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so, ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: The Kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”

Introductory Prayer: Good Jesus, thank you for this opportunity to speak with you again and to listen to you. I know that you have longed for this moment we will spend together. You silently wait for hours in the tabernacle, hoping that one of your friends will come to make a visit. You always have something to say when we finally turn to you, so I willingly set aside all distractions and give you my undivided attention.

Petition: Grant me, Lord, the grace to accept your instructions with a great spirit of simplicity.

  1. The Harvest: The Holy Spirit works constantly to stir up souls and prompt them to turn their lives toward God. He nudges them when they listen to Scripture or a homily. He speaks to them in the little events of day-to-day life. But there is often one other ingredient he uses to reach souls: He uses us. He uses our example, our words, our drawing close to others. This is why Our Lord speaks of a crop waiting to be harvested. Harvesting is all about toil and timing. Crops not brought in quickly rot in the field. What harvest of souls might Our Lord be asking me to help with? It might be an engaged couple who need to be helped in their faith. It might be a sick relative who needs to prepare spiritually for death. It might be a troubled teen who needs guidance to keep on the right path. All these could be souls who need help now. Will I respond?
  1. Full-time Laborers: Besides the work that all of us are called to do by our baptism, there is also a need for people who dedicate their entire lives to the mission of evangelization. Priests especially are needed, to confect the Eucharist and to grant absolution within the sacrament of reconciliation. The principle outlined in the first point of this meditation applies here as well: The Holy Spirit inspires new vocations, and frequently he depends on others to promote this work. Do I join in this crucial work for the Church? Do I encourage vocations? Do I speak well of priests and religious? Am I willing to let a son or daughter, a brother or sister, pursue a vocation? Do I see that the vocation I encourage today might be the vocation that helps save the soul of a child or grandchildren in the future?
  1. Details Matter: Jesus’ precise instructions to his disciples show that details matter to him. Our Lord doesn’t leave anything to chance. He has a system for how to evangelize, and it is crucial that the disciples follow his orders precisely. This reminds us that work of evangelization and building the Kingdom is Jesus’, and as such he makes the rules. Free-lance evangelization doesn’t substitute for what Christ wants. This principle applies to all walks of life. Hence, there are rules that regulate conduct within marriage and before marriage. There are guidelines as to what lawmakers can and cannot support, and how businesspeople should and should not treat their employees and customers. Might I think that I’m exempt from Christ’s rules? Might I be living my faith on my terms, rather than on Christ’s?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me avoid fooling myself that I’m doing your will, when in fact I might be following my own whims. Let me appreciate that there is a teamwork aspect to the Christian life that helps me grow in patience and humility.

Resolution: I will pray or offer up a sacrifice for vocations, or speak of vocations to at least one person, either by word or by e-mail.


Homily of the Day

In the first reading we see the great faith and trust of Job in God, despite the great trials and disasters he has had.

In the Gospel reading Jesus sends off his disciples to preach the Good News and spread the Kingdom of God. They told people about life with God.

Like the disciples of Jesus, we are sent to go and spread the Good News to those who do not know God, even to those we do not know. We are told that “Evangelization happens when the word of Jesus speaks to people’s hearts and minds. This means that we must let our faith shine on the world around us, radiating the love of Jesus by the everyday way we speak, think and act.” (US Conference of Bishops)

May we, in our own little ways, become bearers of the Good News to others.


One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body

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All Issues > Volume 34, Issue 6

<< Thursday, October 4, 2018 >> St. Francis of Assisi
 
Job 19:21-27
View Readings
Psalm 27:7-9, 13-14 Luke 10:1-12
Similar Reflections
 

A WONDER: WORKERS!

 
“The harvest is rich but the workers are few; therefore ask the Harvest-Master to send workers to His harvest.” �Luke 10:2
 
Job was one of the Lord’s most faithful workers. The Lord permitted Satan to take away almost all of Job’s riches, kill his ten children, and give Job a life-threatening, painful disease (Jb 1:12ff). Even if the Lord later gave Job twice as much as he had lost (Jb 42:10), no wonder the Lord’s workers are few! (Lk 10:2)

The Lord sends out His workers “as lambs in the midst of wolves” (Lk 10:3). He tells them to take nothing with them and to live from moment to moment trusting Him for everything (Lk 10:4). No wonder the Lord’s workers are few!

The crucified Lord promised us that we, His disciples and co-workers (1 Cor 3:9), would be persecuted as He was persecuted (Jn 15:20; 2 Tm 3:12; Mt 5:11). Under these conditions, no wonder few are willing to work!

Now Jesus asks each of us to work for Him. He will reward us with the eternal happiness of heaven (see 2 Tm 4:8), but He doesn’t put that much emphasis on it. He mostly talks about the cross. This ensures that each of us decides to work for Jesus out of love for Him. A wonder: workers for His harvest!

 
Prayer: Father, may love impel me to work for You (see 2 Cor 5:14).
Promise: “I believe that I shall see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.” —Ps 27:13-14
Praise: St. Francis’ approach to war was to pray zealously for the conversion of the enemy, ignore the threats on his life, and proclaim the gospel personally to the enemy leader.