From my friend, Gerry Straub's journal:
October 4, 2023
Bound to the Weakest
Today we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. The saint desired to pray continually, as
1 Thessalonians 5:17 recommends. Let us pray...
Blessed you are, Lord;
show me what you want me to do.
Lord, you have been our refuge
from generation to generation.
Lord, have mercy on me
-- I ask as I have asked before --
heal this soul that has sinned against you.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
In you is the source of all life;
in you is the light
whereby we shall see light.
Forever show your mercy
to them that have come to know you.
(A fragment of the ancient church’s prayer, the Te Deum, specially translated by Fr. A. Hamman, a Dominican friar.)
Words to PonderBecause he himself assumed his full share in this labor of transformation, along with the humblest and poorest of his fellow men, [St.] Francis [of Assisi] discovered an aspect of God very different from that current among the adherents of ecclesiastical principalities and holy wars. For him, God ceased to be the external, dominating, and Transcendent One, the Lord in a more-or-less feudal dress. To him, God appeared as mysteriously present in our history, bereft of all trappings of power, bound instead to what was weakest and most despised in man’s world. Francis rediscovered God’s humbleness, God’s humanity. Not merely as an object of devotion, but as a new principle on which to reconstruct society. He understood that if one acknowledges the God of the Gospel, then one can no longer be satisfied with just any form of social organization. This acknowledgment is bound to bring about a transformation in human relationships; it involves seeking and bringing into being true brotherhood, a brotherhood that excludes nobody. The God of the Gospel lets himself be seen through other men, where there are no more lords and no more subjects, where no one is kept out. The dawn of true brotherhood is the light in which God is truly found.
-Eloi Leclerc, OFM,
Francis of Assisi: Return to the Gospel