The Pillar of Prayer - St. Francis of Assisi
We are invited to follow in Saint Francis’ footsteps; he has been represented as one of the four statues in our church and our reliquary holds a relic of Francis. He was chosen because of his simple living, gospel values and his care of the earth and all of creation.
We may have heard the stories about Saint Francis preaching to the birds in the forest, taming the wild wolf of Gubbio, or cautioning the rabbits and fish to be more careful but Saint Francis was much more than a lover of creation. He innately understood our communion (common-union) with all of creation, as well as the need to show mercy to all. God’s mercy changes everything. Francis’ life shows us that once you find God’s mercy you will want to live it out each and every day.
He went from a rich young man to someone who had left his father’s house, left his group of friends, and renounced every material possession he had to become a beggar for Christ. His chief characteristic was this complete trust in God, which was manifested in his embrace of “Lady Poverty” (Mary). Francis began moving in this “way of poverty” when following God’s will was more important to him than material possessions. His way of living-– surrendering his entire life over to God—has been emulated by Franciscans all over the world, which currently is the largest religious order in the Roman Catholic Church.
It has been said while Francis was gazing upon the San Damino cross, Jesus loved him and said, “Francis, rebuild my church.” “How” Francis asked. (At first he thought it was to rebuild the church stone by stone.) He soon discovered he was to rebuild God’s Church by showing mercy and justice to all of creation; by spending time with Jesus and “Lady Poverty” (adoration and Mass) and definitely by studying scripture (bible study, readings for the week). After all, how else will you be able to bring the Gospel to life and life to the Gospel?
We grow as disciples who are committed to prayer—individual and communal prayer, public and private prayer. Through prayer we are invited to draw closer to Jesus and to imitate Him in our daily lives. While Eucharist is central to our spiritual life, other prayer opportunities are made available.