Tuesday, October 4, 2016

"The one you are looking for is the one who is looking."

“Keep a clear eye toward life's end. Do not forget your purpose and destiny as God's creature. What you are in his sight is what you are and nothing more. Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take nothing that you have received...but only what you have given; a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice, and courage.” – St Francis: (1181 - 1226: born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, informally named as Francesco was an Italian Roman Catholic friar and preacher.)

Responsorial Psalm: (PS 139:1B-3, 13-14AB, 14C-15)
R. (24b) Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
My soul also you knew full well;
nor was my frame unknown to you
When I was made in secret,
when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

Today we celebrate the feast of one of the most beloved saints in Church history: St. Francis of Assisi.

For a man small in stature Francis Bernardone of Assisi made a giant impact on the spirituality of the Catholic Church in a time in its history (the 13th century) when it so desperately needed someone to help it find its way again – to regain its balance – to remember where it came from in the first place and who it really was! This was not Francis's idea, but rather Jesus' who told him to "Go, rebuild my Church!" It took Francis several years to even begin to understand what that actually meant or that anything that he was doing had anything at all to do with that command!

The life of Francis can be described in 12 ways (like the numbers on a clock): it was a life of simplicity, of joy, of solitude, of humility, of creativity, of chastity, of community, of compassion, of appreciating God's creation, of service, of peace, and of prayer. He emulated all of these concepts and activities to an amazing degree!

Francis and the many thousands of members of the Franciscan community throughout history and today seek the balance of all twelve of these realties in their lives – so they have something worthwhile to share with others: to share with the hungry and the homeless; the sick and the dying; the naked and the imprisoned. For if they, and we with them do not minister to those who have such needs then Jesus will say to us on Judgment Day: when you did not do these things: you did not do them to me – away with you!

Sometimes we think he is kidding here – but I think he is very serious!

Let us rather be among those who hear Jesus saying on that Day: COME, BLEST OF MY FATHER – INHERIT THE KINGDOM THAT HAS BEEN PREPARED FOR YOU FROM THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE WORLD – FOR I HAD MANY NEEDS AND YOU TOOK CARE OF THEM ALL by ministering to the very least of my brothers and sisters!

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