We always thank God for you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father, your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. In addition to the animal kingdom, Francis felt a strong kinship with the elements of the earth which he regarded as his brothers and sisters.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your hands, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. He determines the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. When Francis and his followers numbered twelve, Francis drew up a short and simple Rule of life based on the Gospel teachings, and took it to Pope Innocent III in Rome, requesting approval.
4 things God wants you to remember when life is hard.
Pope Innocent III, who had great religious, social and political power, was not convinced that the small and insignificant looking Francis would have the ability to breathe new life into the Church through his Rule. He did not grant his approval. It was about to topple over. Francis, the little poor man to whom he had just granted an interview, was holding up the entire Basilica on his shoulder. The dream caused the pope to change his mind and give Francis the approval he sought for his Rule.
Step by step, God was leading Francis and opening the doors to the great mission that was given to him to fulfill. Morning by morning, He wakens me and opens my understanding to His will. On one occasion, Francis was traveling in Tuscany with Brother Masseo. As they were walking, they came to a crossroad where three roads met. They could go to Siena, to Florence or to Arezzo. When Brother Masseo asked which road they should take, Francis replied that they would take the road that God willed. He told Brother Masseo to twirl around in a circle, and not to stop until told to.
He did as Francis asked and became very dizzy. Finally, Francis told him to stop. While they were walking toward Siena, Brother Masseo thought about what had just transpired. Why would Francis ask him to something that was so infantile? If anyone passing by on the road had seen him twirling around the way children do in their play, they would have considered him a common fool. Because he had such a great esteem for Francis, whom he revered as a saint, he did not dare ask him for an explanation.
It was the Holy Spirit, guiding and enlightening him, that made his ministry to souls so fruitful. The time they spent in Siena proved to be a great blessing to the citizens of the town and many people received graces. So, too, in the sick, you are contemplating the kind of infirmities He took upon Himself for us. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
There was a woman from a village near Arezzo who was pregnant. When the time came for her baby to be born, she was in labor for several days but unable to deliver the baby. She was hanging between life and death. Her relatives heard that Francis was going to pass through the village that day. They were aware of his reputation of holiness and had great faith in him.
They were told that he was riding a horse because he was too weak and ill at the time to walk. They waited for him with great expectancy but he did not appear. They learned that he had taken another route through the village and they were deeply disappointed.
They did however see his companion, Brother Peter, who was bringing the horse back that Francis had used for his journey. The townspeople wondered if they might be able to find something the saint had touched that could be of help to the dying woman. They realized that St.
Francis had held the reins of the horse in his hands that day. Taking the reins, they laid them on the woman and she was immediately freed from the crisis and gave birth. We need to be especially alert to the evil subtlety of Satan.
His one desire is to keep people from having a mind and heart disposed to their Lord and God. He wants to extinguish the light of the human heart, and so he moves in by means of worldly busyness and worry. Our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.go
Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to stand firm. You may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials; but this is so that your faith, which is more precious than the passing splendor of fire-tried gold, may by its genuineness lead to praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ appears. Blessed are those who endure in peace, because by You, Most High, they will be crowned. But a short time ago, mercy came to us from the Lord, our God, who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in His holy place.
When Cardinal Hugolin of Ostia first met Francis and the Friars Minor, he admired the great simplicity and humility of their lives. They lived in huts of wood and clay and slept on mounds of straw and broken pallets. They ate sparingly and only of very plain food. They spent their time in prayer, penance, manual labor, and preaching. They were always at the service of their neighbor, particularly lepers, and the sick poor.
Chapter Six—Summary and Practical Advice
Francis chose the undyed and rough woolen tunics of the poorest peasants in Assisi to be the clothing of the Friars Minor. When Cardinal Hugolin saw how poorly the Brothers lived, he was so overcome with emotion that he began to cry. I do not count my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Each one should rather condemn and despise himself.
Because the first must be the last And only little ones may pass Beyond the gate, narrow and small Where God is waiting for us all. Saint Francis, lift my spirit up I raise to you my empty cup. As I approach the narrow way Make me a little one today. On another occasion, a nightingale responded to his great magnetism and sang with him in an ilex grove.
Francis loved robins and swallows and doves and sparrows, but his favorite bird by far, was the lark. The lark was a humble bird. She was satisfied with a few small kernels and seeds, found by the wayside. Her clothing of feathers was humble, the color of the earth.
The lark gave the Brothers a good example not to wear showy or fine garments but to dress in a simple and plain manner. Francis loved the sweetness and the beauty of the song of the lark, as she soared heavenward. He told the Brothers that they too, should always sing praise to God, and have their conversation in Heaven. The love that he showed these humble creatures was reciprocated, for it was the larks that paid a special tribute to Francis when he was dying.
When Francis was preparing for an audience he was to have with Pope Honorius lll, Cardinal Hugolin gave him some words of advice. Cardinal Hugolin, who venerated Francis as a saint, wanted him to make a good impression on the Holy Father.
Bible Study, Prayer and Homily Resources
He was aware that at times, Francis exhibited behavior that was unpredictable and unconventional, to say the least. To Cardinal Hugolin, this was a cause for concern. He told Francis to prepare a speech and study it thoroughly, using it as a framework for all that he would say, and not to deviate from it. Francis did what Cardinal Hugolin recommended but when the time came for him to stand before the Pope and the entire Roman Curia of Cardinals, he could not remember a single word of the speech he had intended to make.
And so instead, he spoke from his heart to the powerful and highly distinguished religious prelates. As he was speaking, he felt a great devotion to God welling up from within and he started to tap his feet. Quite the opposite, their encounter with Francis left them deeply edified and profoundly moved. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Due to his many chronic illnesses and increasing weakness, Francis appointed Peter of Catana to be the head of the Order of Friars Minor.
In addition, Francis decided to no longer have any particular Brother assigned to assist him in his needs or accompany him when he traveled. He said that once he saw a blind man who had just a little puppy to guide him on his way. He did not want to have more than that or to appear singular in any way. Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name be the glory. It therefore brings much disgrace on us servants of God that the saints have done great things while we hope to win honor and fame merely by talking and preaching about them.
Francis of Assisi — The Admonitions. For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin. Most high, glorious God, cast Your light into the darkness of my heart. Give me right faith, firm hope, perfect charity and profound humility, with wisdom and perception, O Lord, so that I may do what is truly Your holy will. Amen — St.