St. Francis Novena, Day One
As you remember your personal intentions, please pray for all those around the world who are also praying this novena.
Leaving the Comfortable Life for Poverty
In my backyard, along with a Jamaican apple tree, a couple of coconut trees, and sugar cane, resides a tree stump. This stump has one main part and another that branches off slightly. Both are hollow. There is also a hole at the bottom of the main trunk. Because the ground is hard to dig into, I decided to plant things in each hollow. I planted a Boat Lily at the bottom and Purple Heart in the hollow at the top. It took some doing, but I got the soil to stay and the plants to root. During the summer the tree (Mysore Thorn) sent off new growth! This is remarkable since the tree has been dormant for many years—hollow with horizontal cuts into each branch. My explanation? Life giving life.
For me, my life as a friar is life-giving, or life giving life. There exists in me the potential for life if I give it away. I am not bereft in the giving. I am given greater life in the giving. It is all about hope. In this seemingly dead stump exists the hope of life—in fact, life never left it. Its life was hidden.
Peter Wohlleben wrote in his book, The Hidden Life of Trees, that when a tree is felled and only the stump is showing that many times the tree still lives underground in its root system. It took the nearness of new life to bring the evidence of life to the surface.
I see that as my mission: to bring hope, and thereby life, to people who seem hopeless. I work at the friars’ soup kitchen in Negril, Jamaica. I make it my responsibility to greet each person who comes to eat lunch. I recognize that I may be the first person that day to welcome them and greet them with a smile. I may be the only person who will do so all day. I am also learning people’s name in the process. I bring out life by sharing mine. Poverty for me is not the doing without things, but life giving life.
(Br. Tim Lamb, OFM, serves in Jamaica, at St. Anthony’s Kitchen in Negril.)
Pray the Novena to St. Francis
Read by Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM
St. Francis is a powerful intercessor, you can post your prayer intentions to him on our Prayer page.
The Novena to St. Francis of Assisi
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Poor and humble St. Francis, through your kind intercession we seek to love God above all things. We seek the faith, hope, and love that moved you to joyfully renounce honors and riches and to radically follow our Lord Jesus Christ.
Pray for us, that we come to see the privilege of suffering with and for the poor after the example of Jesus. Help us to be always grateful for all the blessings we have received and give us the strength to overcome our most pressing concerns.
(Include your personal intentions now.)
St. Francis, as you left a comfortable life to lead a life of poverty and service to others, we ask you to pray that we also realize the folly of seeking to amass material wealth and gain power and control over others less fortunate than we are. Today I humbly give something that I don’t really need to the poor as an offering to God our Father, hoping this act signals a start of my conversion.
St. Francis, help us to continue praying for the grace to truly repent and change our hearts by actively seeking reconciliation with God and all those we have offended or hurt in any way. May the blessings we receive through your intercession deepen our faith and inspire us to store up treasures in heaven, where we hope to spend eternity with our loving God.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.
St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
Post your prayer requests on our Prayer Page.
Videos and articles on St. Francis at Franciscan Media.
We follow Jesus in the footsteps of St. Francis, learn more at Franciscan.org