Monday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Saint Francis of Assisi—(1181-+1228) Friar, Deacon, Mystic and Preacher, Founder of the Franciscan Order, Patron Saint of Italy, Animals, and Ecology
Jonah 1:1-2:1, 11, Psalm 2:2, 3, 4, 5, 8, & Luke 10:25-37
"Here is our rule," Francis said in the simplest terms, "Live by the Gospel!" It is said that he took the Gospel so literally that there is a tale that when a man stole Saint Francis' hood, he sent one of his brothers to give the man his cloak, too. Another story of Saint Francis tells of his preaching to hundreds of birds about being thankful to God for their wonderful "clothes," independence, and for God's care. This story describes how the birds stood still as he walked among them, only flying off when he said they could leave.
St. Francis of Assisi was a person of action. His simplicity of life extended to both concepts and deeds. If there were a straightforward way, no matter how impossible it seemed, Francis would take it. In many ways, Saint Francis' life mirrors that of our Lord Jesus. Both wandered around small villages preaching to whoever would listen. Neither held any political power and nor many possessions.
The unexpected way in which Saint Francis changed the world was through his example. His "revolutionary" way of thinking is so radically simple that anyone can do it. All you need to do is follow the Gospel, live simply, and show your joy to the surrounding world. When we see the beauty of a life united to God, we are immediately attracted to it. Saint Francis never expected his small band of brothers to be of any significance, and yet, more than eight hundred years later, they are one of the largest religious orders in the world.
The Gospel is preached most effectively, not by organizations that reach out to every corner of the world, but by individuals passing it to one another. The friar from Assisi often encouraged his followers to "start by doing what's necessary; then doing what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
Questions of the Day: Do you want to change the world? Will you live the Gospel message of Jesus in the best way that you can?
Prayer: "Lord God, you enabled Saint Francis to imitate Christ by his poverty and humility. Walking in Saint Francis' footsteps, may we follow Your Son and be bound to You by a joyful love. Amen." (From Lives of the Saints – Illustrated)