Readings for St. Francis of Assisi: Friar, 1226
“My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:2)
Psalm 121 is the Psalm our Women’s Bible Study opens with every Tuesday afternoon. The words are both very familiar to me and meaningful. I have always looked to the hills and often pondered from where is my help to come. And, there is some sense deep within my soul that informs me that “my help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” I think the same can be said of St Francis of Assisi.
Today we remember St. Francis of Assisi, “the son of a prosperous merchant of Assisi, was born in 1182. His early youth was spent in harmless revelry and fruitless attempts to win military glory. (Great Cloud of Witnesses for October 4) I often look for what I have in common with the saints that I share with you. Like Francis, I too have a military past although I don’t think I was looking for glory. And, I stayed well past my youth. God has a way of being in our path when the time is right regardless of our age. And God comes to us in many and different ways.
Legend associates Francis with nature and the creatures of the earth. Many people have statues of Francis in their gardens. Perhaps we should have statues of Francis at our homeless shelters and hospitals as well as Francis was a devoted companion of the down trodden.
“Various encounters with beggars and lepers pricked the young man’s conscience, and he decided to embrace a life devoted to Lady Poverty. Despite his father’s intense opposition, Francis totally renounced all material values and devoted himself to serve the poor. In 1210, Pope Innocent III confirmed the simple Rule for the Order of Friars Minor, a name Francis chose to emphasize his desire to be numbered among the “least” of God’s servants.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for October 4) Francis had many followers to fall away because of his insistence on intentional poverty. It is so hard for us to not have stuff.
“Of all the saints, Francis is the most popular and admired but probably the least imitated; few have attained to his total identification with the poverty and suffering of Christ.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for October 4) Of the several saints I hold as heroes, Francis is not one of them. I am very much aware of my reliance on some degree of materialism. I don’t fault myself, but I do practice moderation. And in all this I remember that “My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John+