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  • Writer's pictureChay Molina

Saint Francis: An example of peace through poverty

In a world of excess, where can one find true happiness, peace and humility?

Our culture gives us various examples of excess being the standard. When we log onto social media we are flooded with images of people taking extravagant vacations, showing off glamorous lifestyles of beautiful cars, expensive clothes and seemingly perfect relationships.

The wealthy are treated like royalty and the least amongst us are treated with disdain and disregard. In a culture so obsessed with grandeur and wealth who can we look to for an example of humility?

The obvious answer is to look to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, read the bible and walk the same path as he did while constantly asking ourselves, "what would Jesus do?"

We can also turn to those saints and holy people who walked and died in the way of Christ. For example Saint Francis of Assisi.

Saint Francis was bornin 1182 in Assisi Italy, to wealthy parents. He was given the name Giovanni Francesco Bernardone and grew up learning the family trade.

Born one of 7 children, Francesco enjoyed great wealth afforded by his father who was a rich merchant.

During his youth, young Giovanni was working at the market for the family business when he encountered a beggar. All of his friends dismissed the beggar, but Francis was moved and handed over all of the items and money he had. This infuriated his father, which moved Francis even further into becoming sympathetic for the less fortunate.

Later in his life (year 1203) Francis experienced a life threating illness, that lead him into a deep spiritual crisis. It was during this period of his life that Francis began to spend a lot of time alone. In his solitude, Francis sought enlightenment from God.

It wasn't until year 1209 that Francis' life would change in a profound way that would be the beginning of his sainthood. Francis attended a sermon in which the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 10 verse 9) was preached.

In case you aren't familiar, this is the verse in the Bible where Jesus tell his disciples "Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep."

This sermon deeply moved young Francis, and it was at this moment that he devoted himself to a life of poverty.

Francis was not alone in his endeavor. He, along with 12 friends formed a group called the order of Francis minor, also known as the Franciscans. The group of 12 lived by one basic rule in which they derived from scripture. That rule was to simply live in poverty.

The group of men worked hard to earn money to meet their basic needs and any extra money earned was given away to the poor.

Aside from having a deep love for poverty and humility, Francis was also deeply connected with animals. He had a way of speaking with him, and a deep appreciation for all of Gods creatures.

In one well documented occurrence, the village in which Francis was living was being terrorized by a furious wolf who would attack the other animals, and people of the village.

Francis took it upon himself to resolve the issue. He walked up to the wolf, did the sign of the cross, and spoke clearly to the wolf, saying "In the name of Christ, I order you not to hurt anyone." the wolf lowered it's head and submitted itself to Francis and then followed him around the village to make peace with each one of the villagers.

The people fell in love with the wolf, and he became a beloved furry friend who stayed happily within the village until it's death 2 years later.

Francis had a sincere way with animals, a respect of the poor, and a deep understanding of the freedom that comes from living simply, but he also had something that very few of us experience. The stigmata.

It was the year 1224 and Francis was the age 42 when he went into the Apennine Mountains for a 40 day retreat and fast. During this time Francis received the same wounds that Jesus Christ suffered during his passion onto his very own body (the stigmata).

Francis spent the remainder of his days writing beautiful prayers, and living for God, forever devoted to a simple life of work and poverty. His final years are said to have been filled with a great deal of physical pain, and on October 3rd, 1226 Francis passed away in Portiuncula at the young age of 44.

He was canonized 2 years later and has been a revered and beloved saint ever since. We celebrate the life of Saint Francis of Assisi each year on October 4th.

Today Francis is remembered for his love of poverty, his humble nature, his love of animals and his beautiful poetic prayers. In todays most toxic culture Saint Francis' legacy is especially important as we all need a break from the toxicity of pride and living in excess. Below you will find special ways in which we can remind ourselves of the lessons we can learn from this Saint, as well as some of his most beautiful prayers.


Sincerely Your Friend in Christ,

Chay Marie

WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI

. Love for poverty and respect for the less fortunate.

. Humility and the blessing that are received in being humble.

. Peace that comes from putting the needs of others before ourselves.

. Respect and love for all of Gods creatures


Relevant Prayers



Saint Francis' Prayer for Peace

Written by Saint Francis of Assisi


Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.


O divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved, as to love.


For it is in giving that we receive;

it is pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


Amen



Blessing for All Animals

A blessing for animals in honor of Saint Francis


Blessed are You, Lord God,

Maker of all living creatures.

On the 5th and 6th days of creation

You called forth fish in the sea,

birds in the air, and animals on the land.

You inspired Saint Francis to call all animals

his brothers and sisters.


We ask You to bless this animal.

By the power of Your love

enable it to live according to your plan.


May we always praise You

for all Your beauty in creation.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, in all your creatures!


Amen



Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon

Written by Saint Francis of Assisi


Most High, all-powerful, all-good

Lord, all praise is Yours,

all glory, all honor and all blessings.


To You alone, Most High,

do they belong,

and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.


Praised be You my Lord and with all Your creatures,

especially Sir Brother Sun,

Who is the day through whom You give us light.

And He is beautiful and radiant with great splendor,

Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.


Praised be You, my Lord through Brothers Wind and Air,

And fair and stormy, all weather's moods,

by which You cherish all that You have made.

Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water,

So useful, humble, precious, and pure.


Praised be You my Lord through Brother Fire,

through whom You light the night

and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.


Praised be You my Lord through our sister,

Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us,

producing varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.


Praised be You my Lord through those who grant pardon for

love of You and bear sickness and trial.


Blessed are those who endure in peace,

By You Most High, they will be crowned.


Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death,

from whom no one living can escape.


Woe to those who die in mortal sin!

Blessed are they she finds doing Your will.


No second death can do them harm.


Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks,

and serve Him with great humility.



Novena to Saint Francis of Assisi

To be prayed for 9 consecutive days


Glorious Saint Francis, who voluntarily renounced all the comforts and riches of your home to follow more perfectly the life of poverty and self-denial of Jesus Christ:


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Amen

Obtain for us, we pray, a generous contempt of all things in this world, that we may secure the true and eternal things of heaven.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Amen.


O glorious Saint Francis, who during the whole course of your life continually wept over the passion of the Redeemer, and labored most zealously for the salvations of souls:

Obtain for us, we pray, the grace of weeping continually over those sins by which we hace crucified afresh out Lord Jesus Christ, that we may attain to be of the number of those shall eternally bless His supreme mercy.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Amen.


O glorious Saint Francis who,

loving above all things suffering and the cross, merited to bear in

your body the miraculous stigmata,

by which you became a living image of Jesus Christ

crucified:

Obtain for us, we pray, the grace

to bear in our bodies the mortification of Christ,

that we may merit one day to receive the consolations which are infallibly promised to all those who now weep.


"If we be dead with Jesus Christ, we shall live also with him," says the apostle;

"if we suffer, we shall also reign with him."

(2 Timothy 2:11-12)


Pray for us, Saint Francis, that we may obtain the graces and favors we ask in this novena;

pray for us, especially that we may obtain the graces of perserverance;

of a holy death and a happy eternity.


Our Father... (5 times)

Hail Mary... (5 times)

Glory Be... (5 times)



Prayer for the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi

Prayer for October 5


O God who, through the merits of blessed Francis, magnifies Your church,

enriching it anew with spiritual offering: make us,

like him, to disdain the goods of earth, not at any time the comforting gifts of heaven.


Saint Francis of Assisi, help us. By your example may we learn that life does not consist in the pursuit of wealth not in the abundance of our possessions.


Saint Francis of Assisi, come to our aid. Because we live at a time when people glorify ease and seek after luxuries, and when many wish only the gratification of fleshly desires. we stand in special need of your single-minded dedication to Christ in the narrow way that leads to life.


Saint Francis of Assisi, assist us now. May we appreciate as you did the beauties of God's wonderful creation, and the glory of the world he made for us. Help us to enjoy and appreciate God's bounty without spoiling or defacing His gifts by our heedlessness and greed.


Teach us seraphic Father Francis, to value all things as Christ did and to be imitators of Him as you were. May we thus enjoy the good things of life, but always prefer the blessings of the endless life to come.


Amen.


Saint Francis, the little poor man of Assisi, we invoke you as the admirable mirror you were of our divine Master.


You imitated Christ the Lord in your humility and obedience. You faithfully followed Him in poverty and weakness. With joy you accepted suffering, contempt, and trials for the sake of His name.


In your goodness help us then, to imitate your example. By your power with God obtain for us the special favor we now seek through your intercession.


Please pray for us, gentle and happy saint of the poor, that we may always be loyal followers of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and filled always with the divine riches.


Amen













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