Tuesday 4th October: St Francis

Today is the feast day of the Year 7 tutor group: St Francis.

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Reflection

It was the year 1205 in the town of Assisi, in northern Italy. Francis was the son of a cloth merchant, and he was thought of as rather “wild”, seeming to have more money than was good for him. He had fought in two wars, spent over a year in prison, and almost died of an illness that had lasted for months.

Now, trying to sort out his life, he was spending a few moments in quiet prayer in a small stone church with a low curved roof. Suddenly, with no-one else in the very small church, he heard himself being addressed by name. Three times the voice spoke the same words to him, and he was convinced that he heard the words being spoken from the cross itself:

“Francis – go and build up my church which is falling down.”

The actual church that St Francis rebuilt, in Assisi, Italy

Francis presumed that Jesus meant the run-down church-building in which he was at that moment. In the following days he set about repairing the stonework of that church. He began to realise that to “build up the Church” wasn’t referring to a building, but to the strengthening of the community of God’s people.

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The church is now located within the larger church of St Mary of the Angels

Deep within himself, Francis was being rebuilt as a person. The reformed Francis – now more clearly formed in God’s own likeness – was able to help lead people to “open themselves” to God’s Spirit working in their lives. It wasn’t by force of his own efforts that Francis became a better person, but by “allowing God to be God” in his life. Many people followed Francis and returned to the simplicity of the Gospel.

One of his most famous prayers is some- times called “The Peace Prayer”. Before we use that prayer we can think of some other words of Francis:

“While you are proclaiming
peace with your lips,
be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”

Prayer of St 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;
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.

Our Lady Queen of Peace pray for us.

St Joseph pray for us

St Francis pray for us.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.