St. Francis Novena – Day 7
Please pray for the poor, forgotten, desperate and lonely around the world and in our neighborhoods.
Jesus says in the Gospels that the poor will always be with us. Some have understood this out-of-context statement to mean that addressing human poverty is an exercise in futility; that poverty is somehow part of God’s plan. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth! There are over 2,000 references to the poor in the Bible and the vast majority make it abundantly clear that God’s plan, if you will, is for us to take care of one another! Some scripture scholars suggest that Jesus might have been quoting from the Book of Deuteronomy at that time, where it says: There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be openhanded toward those who are poor and needy.
Sadly, these past eighteen months have only made matters worse for those already poor, while also adding to their ranks. So many people have lost their jobs, fallen behind on their rent, and fallen into despair. Where I live in Michigan, I’ve noticed an increased number of individuals holding signs on street corners asking for assistance. One of the friars I live with always keeps a stash of dollar bills in his glove box to give to these brothers and sisters in need, while some of us keep CarePax in our cars, filled with seasonal necessities, to give to them. My mother would never drive past someone asking for help without offering them a CarePax, never!
One of the reasons why I became a Franciscan was because of the example of St. Francis, whose love of Jesus filled him with compassion and mercy of biblical proportions! He never lost sight of the poverty experienced by the infant Jesus and—as an outgrowth of that—came to choose the virtue of voluntary poverty himself, even personifying it as a fair lady!
While all of us have surely suffered in one way or another this past year and a half, the unfortunate reality is that overall suffering has been and remains gravely disproportionate. St. Francis addressed the disproportionate suffering of his time by giving up his life of wealth and privilege to live a Gospel-centered life of caring for the poor and the abandoned. As we approach his feast day, may our desire to live Gospel-centered lives deepen while growing ever stronger.
(Br. Al Mascia, OFM, lives in the Detroit area. Follow his music ministry at: brotheral.org).
Pray the Novena to St. Francis of Assisi
Read by Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM
St. Francis visited Pope Innocent III seeking approval for his Rule and the way of life for his followers. At first the pope was reluctant but in a supernatural dream, where the St. John Lateran Basilica was falling down in ruin, St. Francis held the building up. At last, Pope Innocent III wholeheartedly approved of the Franciscans. 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.)
Humble and loving St. Francis, you were untiring in your service to the poor. Obtain for us the same heart for mercy and the desire to give of ourselves in the hope that we may one day be blessed with the promises of Christ
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.
Light a candle or give alms on our Donation Page.
Videos and articles on St. Francis at Franciscan Media.
We follow Jesus in the footsteps of St. Francis, learn more at Franciscan.org