St. Francis

What does it mean to be Franciscan?

St. Francis had a great devotion to Christ Incarnate. He had a special reverence and love for:

  • The Passion of Christ – which is why we pray the Stations of the Cross and the Cross.
  • His Incarnation – which is why we pray the Angelus, pray our Christmas Novena and set up special Nativity scenes
  • The Blessed Sacrament – where we have Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity.
  • His Blessed Mother – because she gave Him flesh and cared for Him
  • His Poverty – Our Lord had nowhere to lay His head. We see His poverty especially on the Cross, in the manger, and in the Tabernacle.
  • The Pope, Bishops and Priests – Christ’s representatives on Earth who make Him present on the Altar.

Franciscan Charism In Our Prayer Life

Ways in which the life and spirituality are demonstrated in our life of prayer.

  • His Incarnation – which is why we pray the Angelus, pray our Christmas Novena and set up special Nativity scenes
  • The Blessed Sacrament – where we have Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity.
  • His Blessed Mother – because she gave Him flesh and cared for Him
  • His Poverty – Our Lord had nowhere to lay His head. We see His poverty especially on the Cross, in the manger, and in the Tabernacle.
  • The Pope, Bishops and Priests – Christ’s representatives on Earth who make Him present on the Altar.

 

Franciscan Origins of our Charism

The origins of the Franciscan Motto, “Deus meus et Omnia”, My God and my All

"Wherefore it came to pass that Messer Bernard of Assisi, who was among the most noble and rich and wise of that city, began to consider attentively St. Francis’ very great patience of injuries under such extreme contempt of the world; and beholding how, after having been thus abhorred and despised by every one for two years, he ever appeared more constant, he began to think and to say within himself: "Of a truth it is impossible that this Francis hath not great grace from God". And so he invited him to supper in the evening and to lodge in his house; and St. Francis accepted and supped with him and lodged. Then Messer Bernard was minded to contemplate his sanctity; and thereunto he caused a bed to be prepared in his own chamber, in the which, at night, a lamp was always kept burning. And St. Francis, to conceal his sanctity, having entered into the chamber, forthwith cast himself upon the bed and feigned to sleep; and in like manner, Messer Bernard, after a little while, laid himself down and began to snore loudly as if he were fast asleep. Whereupon, believing that in very truth Messer Bernard slept, St. Francis presently rose from his bed and betook himself to prayer, lifting up his eyes and hands to heaven, and saying, with great devotion and fervour: "My God, my God". And so saying and weeping continually, he abode even until morning, always repeating: "My God, my God," and nothing else." Quote from Chapter 2 of The Little Flowers of St. Francis, tr. by W. Heywood, [1906].

Taking care of the sick

"THE true disciple of Christ, Messer St. Francis, while he lived in this miserable life, sought with all his strength to follow Christ, the perfect Master; whence it ofttimes befel, through Divine operation, that, in the selfsame hour that he healed men's bodies, their souls were healed by God, even as we read of Christ. And, inasmuch as he not only himself willingly served lepers, but, furthermore, had commanded that the friars of his Order, wheresoever they went or sojourned throughout the world, should serve lepers for the love of Christ, who for our sake willed to be accounted leprous;" Quote from Chapter 25 of The Little Flowers of St. Francis, tr. by W. Heywood, [1906].

Loving simplicity

"On another occasion, while blessed Francis was living in the same place, one of the friars, who was a spiritual man and an early member of the Order, was ill and very weak. As he looked at him, the holy Father felt great compassion for him. But because at that time the friars, both healthy and sick, were cheerfully regarding their poverty as plenty, and would not use or ask for medicines in sickness, but willingly accepted bodily privations, blessed Francis said to himself, 'If only this brother could eat some ripe grapes first thing in the morning, I think they would do him good.’

And he acted on this idea, for he rose very early one day, and calling the friar to him privately, led him into a vineyard near the friary. Choosing a vine where the grapes were good to eat, he sat down beside the vine with the friar, and began to eat the grapes lest the brother should be ashamed to eat alone." Part 2, #28 ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI, His Life and Writings as recorded by his contemporaries, Leonard von Matt, translated by LEO SHERLEY-PRICE, Copyright 1959 by A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd.