St. Francis Novena – Day 3
St. Francis Novena | Day Three: The Gospels
BY BR. CHRIS MEYER, OFM
We would be missing something if we were only given a sheet of music to experience Johann Sebastian Bach’s music or an unpainted or darkened Caravaggio canvas. Music is experienced through sound and vibration, while art is enjoyed through sight and the interplay of light, darkness, and touch.
In a similar way, the Gospel of Jesus Christ was much more than mere words inked on parchment and artistically bound for St. Francis of Assisi. It was a way of life.
On April 16, 1208, Francis and Bernard stopped together at the little church of San Nicolo in Assisi. Three times they opened the Gospel, and the shape of the life of the Franciscan community took form in the Lord’s words—a life of poverty, preaching, and penance lived in a spirit of humility. For Francis, the Gospel was both a historical event and a present reality. The Word of God, the Incarnation, Jesus the Christ, God in human form: Jesus was real! We recall the imagery of Francis building the first living creche in the little mountain village of Greccio, not because he wanted to start a new trend, but because he wanted to fully experience that sacred moment when God became one of us.
Murray Bodo, OFM, writes in his book Francis and Jesus, “In the heart of night the townspeople crossed from Greccio to the hermitage carrying lighted candles and singing Christmas songs. They were amazed at the scene before them, the live Christmas crib that made them see the poverty and humility of God…. So excited was Francis that when he preached, he could not say Bethlehem without bleating like a lamb when he pronounced the word, ‘Betlemme’” (Franciscan Media, 2013).
This beautiful and humble scene was 800 years ago, but anyone who accepts this life accepts God’s mission to continually bring forth Christ in our world.
In the Letter to All the Faithful, Francis wrote, “We are…[His] mothers when we carry Him in our heart and body through love and a pure and sincere conscience; and give Him birth through a holy activity, which must shine before others by example.” He shows us that the Bible is not a book to be read, but a text to be performed. I think another way of putting it is taken from a friar I know who often says, “It is better to show than to know.”
Francis gave birth to the Gospel and challenged the difficulties of his time: faith, church, and society. In our difficult time, it is now ours to do. Join us Franciscans in this way of life!
Let Us Pray
Loving God: Allow your Word to enter profoundly into every fiber of my being so that I too may respond, like St. Francis, and live a radically Gospel life.
(Br. Chris Meyer is the Liaison for Sponsored Ministries for the Province of St. John the Baptist.)
Pray the Novena to St. Francis of Assisi
Read by Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM
St. Francis knew of family strife first hand. 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 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.)
Glorious St. Francis, you acted as a peacemaker even in the face of extreme physical danger. Through your prayers, may we also be graced with the desire to find peaceful resolutions to the problems that plague us, even in the most trying of times. As an offering to our Loving God, I resolve to forgive all the wrongs I have suffered from others.
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,
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