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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

"Hallowed be Thy name"(Lk 11:2) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

 

 

Saint Francis of Assisi

Feast Day - October 4


Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher.

Francis astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally — not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a mite of self-importance. He founded the men's Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the lay Third Order of Saint Francis.

Though he was never ordained into the Catholic priesthood, Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history

Francis was the son of a wealthy cloth merchant in Assisi, and he lived the high-spirited life typical of a wealthy young man. While going off to war in 1204, Francis had a vision that directed him back to Assisi, where he lost his taste for his worldly life. On a pilgrimage to Rome, he begged with the beggars at St. Peter's. The experience moved him to live in poverty. Francis returned home, began preaching on the streets, and soon amassed a following.

The sermon about Matthew 10:9, in which Christ tells his followers they should go forth and proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven was upon them, that they should take no money with them, nor even a walking stick or shoes for the road - inspired Francis to devote himself to a life of poverty. Clad in a rough garment, barefoot, and, after the Gospel precept, without staff or scrip, he began to preach repentance.

On Palm Sunday, March 28, 1211, Francis received Clare at the Porziuncola and hereby established the Order of Poor Ladies, later called Poor Clares. This was an order for women, and he gave a religious habit similar to his own to his friend, later known as St. Clare of Assisi, before he then lodged her and a few companions in the church of San Damiano. There they were joined by many other women of Assisi. For those who could not leave their homes, he later formed the Third Order of Brothers and Sisters of Penance.

After the reception of the stigmata, Francis suffered increasing pains throughout his frail body, already broken by continual mortification. During an excess of anguish, Francis paid a last visit to St. Clare at St. Damian's, and it was in a little hut of reeds, made for him in the garden there, that the saint composed that "Canticle of the Sun", in which his poetic genius expands itself so gloriously. Francis died in Assisi on 3 October, 1226. On July 16, 1228, he was pronounced a saint by Pope Gregory IX.

He is known as the patron saint of animals, the environment, ecology and merchants.  He is one of the two patrons of Italy (with Catherine of Siena), and it is customary to hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day.

He is also known for his love of the Eucharist,his sorrow during the Stations of the Cross and for the creation of the Christmas crib or Nativity Scene.

"Meditation for the Feast Saint Francis of Assisi" by Blessed Pope John XXIII

Francis was called "another Christ", in the sense that he showed in his life and conduct the very pith and kernel of Our Lord's teaching. We all have to fight against the lusts of the flesh. Many people also desire material wealth and dream of money, but Saint Francis teaches every one of us, whatever our social condition may be, to fight against "the lust of the eyes", which is full of deceit and vanity. The wealth of Christian life does not consist in money and all its cares and demands. To some extent it is necessary for our very existence, but we must not lose our hearts to it. In the presence of his father and of the Bishop, Francis gave up everything, even the clothes he was wearing - such was his love for poverty.

When Providence has enabled a man to possess more than sufficient for his needs, he is inviting him to redistribute his wealth, to help the poor, and to contribute to the great works in aid of human brotherhood. This commandment is valid for all, and particularly for those who have dedicated their lives to God's service. Therefore, whoever has more abundant wealth must give more generously, giving also for those who are unable to do so. The precept applies not only to two brothers, two families or two towns, but to the whole world. Sometimes a rich man may feel powerful, and boast of his resources, and shut his eyes and ears to the poverty of others who are condemned to live in want - whereas true brotherly feeling would see to it that the poor had at least what he needed to live. If we wish to find a little spiritual joy on this earth we must follow after Saint Francis, who imitated the example of Christ, who even worked miracles in order to feed the hungry.

Prayer of 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.
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

 
Divine Updates

MAGNIFICAT in Chennai

Divine comes to Chennai with the 'Magnificat', on June 23, 2018. Fr. John Prince VC will lead the services. With special sessions for children.

Venue: Stella Maris College, Cathedral Road

Retreats at the Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby, Sydney

Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby to hold retreats throughout 2017. For bookings, email Fr Roni George, Director - drcsydney@gmail.com. Hurry, as admission is limited.

Date: January 2018 - December, 2018

Retreats in Divine Retreat Centre, UK

Divine Retreat Centre, Ramsgate UK, has announced several English and Malayalam language retreats to be led by Fr. George Panackal VC and Fr. Joseph Edattu VC. All are welcome.

Dates: Jan - Dec, 2018

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Date: July 22 - July 27, 2018

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