Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Feast of St. Francis

Feast of St. Francis
Gal 6, 14-18
Today, the feast of St. Francis is a very great Solemnity for the Poor Clares, for they count him as their spiritual Father and Founder. For nine days the Sisters have prayed a novena in his honor and now they celebrate his holy life for two days. Franciscans are very good at celebrating and they just cannot fit all their joy into just one day! The 2nd reading at Holy Mass for this feast is taken from St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, where he says “God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ through which I am crucified to the world and the world to me”. In other words, for St. Paul as for St. Francis, contemplating the poor, crucified Christ destroyed in them all desire for wealth and prestige. In another place Paul states that all he wants is to know Christ and to know how to share in His sufferings, to be conformed to the pattern of His death. Toward the end of his life, St. Francis actually bore the wounds of Christ visibly on His hands, feet and side. But these marks were only the outward signs of a heart already pierced by the love of Jesus who had suffered and died for him. Some Poor Clare saints, like St. Veronica, also bore the visible “stigmata” of Christ. All Poor Clares, however, pray to be ever more imbued with a deep love of Jesus Crucified, that they may be united with Him in His death and come to share His resurrection. This new risen life is not for themselves alone, but bears fruit for the whole Church, indeed, for the whole world.

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