St. Francis Novena – Day 7
St. Francis Novena | Day Seven: Love
BR. CHRIS MEYER, OFM
St. Francis composed the “Canticle of Creatures” in the early part of 1225 when he was staying with Clare and the ladies at San Damiano. He was lying in a little hut that became overrun by field mice.
He was nearly blind and suffered from multiple infections and illnesses. Francis was depressed over what he experienced as the decaying state of the order. And, finally, the mystical events of the previous fall at La Verna were etched deeply in his soul as was the pain from the wounds of the stigmata in his hands, feet, and side. It was under these conditions that Francis composed one of the greatest love poems of all time. It was at this low point that Francis felt the intense joy of a life that was totally permeated by love. But how?
Because he found God; and where God is, so is love. As Murray Bodo, OFM, writes in, Francis: The Journey and the Dream, Francis’ experience in the cave assured him that Jesus dwelled within him. In that dark hole, he found God already existing in his heart. And if God was existing in his miserable state, it too existed in every other living creature. As it is written in 1 John 4:16, “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.”
Francis’ desire to experience God within himself propelled him to experience love in all creation. Pope Francis, in his 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’, writes, “St. Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. ‘Through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker” (Wis 13:5); indeed, “his eternal power and divinity have been made known through his works since the creation of the world’ (Rom 1:20).”
Francis’ desire to experience God within himself also propelled him to lead a life modeled after the source of love: Jesus. It was a life of poverty, preaching, and penance lived in a spirit of humility. In his desire to so imitate Jesus, Francis freely shared what he already knew and pointed all to do the same. In doing so, Francis was able to cross barriers and borders, wounds and wars, cultures and religions.
A life filled with love was all he ever wanted and all he ever needed. In the “Canticle,” Francis expresses a way of life, an inner attitude in which he learned to stand before God and to face life itself. Through the “Canticle,” praise bursts forth from a heart who lives by grace alone and from the heart who can only express gratitude through life and through words.
Let Us Pray
Oh God, in our weakness and lowliness, reveal and strengthen our hearts with your love so that we, too, may offer you praise and glory through creation.
(Br. Chris Meyer, OFM, is the Liaison for the Council to 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 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 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.)
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,
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Videos and articles on St. Francis at Franciscan Media.
We follow Jesus in the footsteps of St. Francis, learn more at Franciscan.org