St. Francis Novena – Day 2
St. Francis Novena | Day Two: Evangelization
BY BR. AL MASCIA, OFM
Evangelization is a Franciscan priority because it was a priority for St. Francis. And it was a priority because he had encountered Jesus and just couldn’t keep that to himself. You see, for Francis, everything always harkened back to Jesus and his holy Gospel. But what is evangelization?
Well, all we have to do is look at the life of Francis himself to find out. For him, sharing the good news of Jesus was inescapable. He had encountered Jesus, truth itself, in his dreams, visions, and listening prayer. He could no more deny or escape sharing that good news than he could breathing in order to stay alive. Once he had accepted the Gospel as his way of life—and Jesus as his model—everything changed. What had been bitter became sweet. And, as we know, there was absolutely no keeping that a secret!
People had to be pretty shocked the day he took off his clothes in the town square to publicly announce his conversion. There’s a phrase attributed to Francis which certainly rings true when applied to his life. It’s become a kind of Franciscan motto, and one of my favorites. Legend has it that Francis once told a brother to go and proclaim the Gospel using words only when necessary. You see, the very life of Francis preached, evangelized, challenged, and evoked. He was so convinced of God’s love that he saw everybody else as God’s beloved—even those his society considered an enemy, like Sultan Malek al-Kamil, whom he met with during the fifth Crusade. So compelling was the way Francis lived his life—simply living the truth of God’s love—that he attracted thousands of other people to follow his example. This includes me—hundreds of years later!
One of the reasons why I wanted to take part in this novena is because of how worried I am that our society is promoting the antithesis of Franciscan evangelization. Instead of helping people recognize God’s love, as Francis did, it seems that people are being demonized by one another instead. And that’s not right. Remember, Francis evangelized by attraction!
Let Us Pray
Loving God: You are powerful and great, yet merciful and loving. Thank you for giving us the example of St. Francis, who was able to closely model his life after that of Jesus. Give us the strength to do so ourselves. Help us to remind our sisters and brothers that we’re all made in your image and likeness, and therefore worthy of kindness, dignity, and respect.
(Br. Al Mascia, OFM, hosts The Friar Place on his website brotheral.org/thefriarplace.)
Pray the Novena to St. Francis of Assisi
Read by Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM
St. Francis was from a wealthy merchant family. He gave his riches to the poor and lived a chosen life of poverty. 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 Saint 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.)
Seraphic St. Francis, when you decided to walk in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ you entrusted your whole life to his Divine Providence. Inspired and encouraged by your example, I resolve to entrust the favorable resolution of my situation to God our Father, through your most kind intercession.
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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Light a candle or give alms on our Donation Page.
Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM, is a writer and poet. His newest book, Teaching the Soul to Speak, is available at Tau Press now.
Videos and articles on St. Francis at Franciscan Media.
We follow Jesus in the footsteps of St. Francis, learn more at Franciscan.org