Take a close look at your parish bulletin this weekend for dogs may be coming to Church!
Francis of Assisi is tied into the catholic imagination of blessings those creatures dear to God’s heart. Francis’ festival is on October 4!
He started his life as a very wealthy man. Suddenly, amidst one of his parties, he was called by God to a radical conversion. He is the poor man of Assisi whose spirituality and way of discipleship has captured the Christian imagination for hundreds of years and is still at the forefront of Christian spirituality today.
Blessed Francis teaches us that the way to Christian discipleship is not about material wealth! Rather, it is in emptying out of our lives in the manner of Christ which leads to genuine holiness. And how did Christ empty himself? In absolute final love as a poor man on the cross – focused on his Father’s will. When Christ remains the jewel and ultimate goal of life, we can attain the holiness which the human heart longs for. Through such discipleship, we can imitate Francis who at at his final hour greeted sister death and praised God for this gift of beholding him face to face. In his letter to the faithful, Francis states:
“Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neighbors as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material thing they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father’s children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
And finally, A prayer worth praying everyday. Attributed to Saint Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen