St. Francis loved and cared for all God’s children and all creation
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4, 2018): JB 19:21-27; PS 27:7-8; 8-9; 13-14; LK 10:1-12
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Once Francis of Assisi turned his life over to Christ, everything changed for him.
Ultimately, our Savior used him to help change the world. While he had started his life experiencing wealth and comfort, after recovering from serious sickness, Francis began to focus on Jesus. Through intense prayer and sacrifice, he realized that our Lord wanted Francis to follow Him as completely as possible. After being disowned by his family for his extreme life of poverty and devotion to Christ, he was ridiculed by many. But in time, the sincerity of Francis became clear and he attracted thousands of men who would become members of the Order of Friars Minor. They looked after the needy and preached the Gospel wherever they went. “Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way.… Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you’” (Luke 10:4, 8-9).
This extraordinary man knew personal suffering, even receiving the marks of Jesus’ crucifixion on his own hands, feet and side. Yet until his death in 1226 at age 44, St. Francis of Assisi faithfully followed Christ, sharing His message and mercy with all he met. He was canonized only two years later. Because of his love for all that God created, we now honor Francis as patron of animals and the environment.
Suggested missionary action: Let us honor St. Francis by helping our own community through efforts to get food, clothing, or shelter for people in need, as we remember also those throughout the missions who require similar assistance. We can also join local and global efforts to improve the environment.