St. Francis Novena, Day Five
As you remember your personal intentions, please pray to trust in the Holy Spirit, even in the midst of troubled times.
Through prayer and penance, Francis, you became a man open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Although we might be tempted to think this guaranteed you an easy life, we know that was not the case.
You lived by the standards of your society for some 20 years before your conversion began to deepen and widen. No one enjoyed stylish clothes, boisterous parties, delicious food, good wine, and fine companions more than you did before your conversion.
All that changed, however, when you began to see your world more clearly through the lens of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You gradually understood what St. Paul meant when he explained to the Christians in Philippi (while imprisoned) that he came to highly value what he used to despise, and he no longer esteemed what he previously did.
Your conversion greatly confused your family and most of your friends. Many of your former friends began to mock the choices you made in living out the Gospel, like when you rebuilt abandoned churches and called people suffering from leprosy your “sisters and brothers.”
The movers and shakers in the Church and civil society didn’t know what to make of you. Many whispered that you had “gone too far.” People thought you were crazy, but you found that enduring rejection without bitterness was, in fact, “perfect joy,” and not crazy.
St. Francis, you had many moments of darkness, but you overcame them through how generously you accepted God’s grace in your life. That grace always stretched you in ways you had not anticipated. For example, at one time you might have responded very differently when a friar cried out in the middle of the night, “I’m hungry.” Instead of rebuking him, you ordered the other friars to get up and join the two of you so that the hungry friar would not be embarrassed.
Your many hours of prayer in caves and in empty churches were not always moments of consolation. There you learned to accept God’s idea of “normal” over the one with which you grew up and considered perfectly obvious.
Loving God, in all humility, help us to prayerfully place our doubts before you, asking that you show us the way we should go in whatever affects our family, local community, and the entire world.
(Fr. Pat McCloskey, OFM, is the Franciscan Editor for St. Anthony Messenger magazine published by Franciscan Media.)
Pray the Novena to St. Francis of Assisi
Read by Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM
As a young man of 20, St. Francis was profoundly changed by his experience of war and prison. 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.)
Blessed St. Francis, when you were blessed with the decision to serve our Lord, you abandoned everything and surrendered yourself totally to God’s will. Obtain for us the same trust in God, that the Holy Spirit may guide our every thought, word and deed.
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,
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