“One day when Francis was going out to meditate in the fields, he passed in front of the church of San Damiano which was in danger of collapsing because of its extreme dilapidation. Inspired by the Spirit, he went inside to pray. Kneeling before an image of the Crucified, he was filled with great fervor and great consolation as he prayed. While his eyes filled with tears looked at the cross of the Lord, he heard from his bodily ears a voice coming from the cross, saying to him three times: ‘Francis, go and repair my house, as you see, it is falling into ruin’” (Life of Saint Francis, Saint Bonaventure).
The words of Jesus to Saint Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), deacon and stigmatist, resonate today. “Rebuild my Church,” says the Lord. Yet so many members of the Church are suffering and the Body is collapsing. With such division, how can we unite and rebuild the Church?
Saint Francis, who founded the Friars Minor (Franciscans), co-founded the Poor Clares and the Franciscans of the Third Order, knew that the love and adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament was essential. Five of his remaining eight letters on earth proclaim the Presence of Our Eucharistic Lord. In fact, St. Francis started Eucharistic adoration in Italy. He reflected, “In this world, I cannot see the Most High Son of God with my own eyes, except His Most Holy Body and Blood. “What marvelous majesty! What prodigious condescension! O sublime humility! May the Lord of all the universe, God and the Son of God, thus humble himself and hide himself in the form of a little bread, for our salvation. Saint Francis led his brothers to prostrate themselves and to proclaim before each Church where the Living Presence of Jesus dwelt: cross, you have redeemed the world.
My mother and I were lucky enough to visit Assisi in 2006. I remember many blessings at St. Francis Basilica, such as praying in the crypt near his remains and gazing at the frescoes by Giotto in the main body of the sanctuary. An unforgettable memory is to see the doves nestled in the corner of a shrine entrance. It was a reminder that if we want true peace and unity, we have only to take refuge in the dwelling place of God and rest close to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.
Obviously, Saint Francis realized that this reconstruction was not only physical, but spiritual. God wants to be with his people, to dwell among them, surrounded by their love. The answer and the solution to the upheaval of our Church and the world is Jesus in the Eucharist – the sacrament of unity – the source, the summit and the center of our lives as Christians. In the words of the Seraphic Father Saint Francis:
“And just as He appeared before the holy Apostles in real flesh, so now He shows Him to us in the Sacred Bread. Looking at him with the eyes of their flesh, they only saw his flesh, but looking at him with the eyes of the spirit, they believed that he was God. In the same way, as we see the bread and the wine with our bodily eyes, see and firmly believe that it is His Most Holy, True and Living Body and Blood. For thus our Lord is always present among those who believe in him, just as he said: ‘Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the world’” (Mt 28:20)..
Jesus in the Holy Eucharist was the heart of Saint Francis’ life. He received the strength to serve the poor tirelessly by devoting several hours a day to Eucharistic adoration. “When you serve the poor, you serve Christ himself,” said Saint Francis, patron of Catholic Action and co-patron of Italy. May he help us spark a spiritual revolution by proclaiming that Jesus is with us in our churches and, fueled by his real presence, ministering to wounded souls in need.
Saint Francis helped abundantly to restore the Church. He is credited with building the first Christmas crib. He and his brothers invited all the children and families in their village to a special mass. The brothers brought animals and led the faithful near the manger. The children dressed up as Our Lady, Saint Joseph, the shepherds, the sages and the angels. During the mass, after the consecration, the priest lifted the Holy Host and the Child Jesus suddenly appeared! All people have seen that the Holy Eucharist is truly and truly Jesus. They gathered near the newborn King to offer him their love and adoration, just as the angels and shepherds did on that first night of Christmas in Bethlehem.
The Lord spoke to us through the Holy Scriptures, through the Church, Saint Francis and so many others. In the book of Revelation we read, “Awake and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you have received and heard; keep it and repent. (Rev. 3:2-3) It’s time to wake up. It is time to repent. It’s time to rebuild. “He who has ears, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give part of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except the one who receives it.(Rev. 2:17) If we rebuild the Church of Christ, our names will be written in the Book of Life, and we will share not only the gift of His Body and His Blood on earth, but also the promise of the Hidden Manna in paradise. Rebuild His Church!
Reflections of Saint Francis of Assisi – Feast of October 4
“And so now with all who see the Blessed Sacrament, sanctified by the words of Our Lord on the altar, by the hands of the priest, in the form of bread and wine: if they do not see and believe not, as the spirit and the Divine nature demands that it be truly the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, they are condemned. For it is the Most High who bears witness to it. He says: ” This is my body and the blood of the New Testament” (Mark 14:22-24) and: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:55).
“Thus it is the spirit of the Lord, which dwells in those who believe in him, who truly receives the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord. All others, who have none of this spirit and claim to receive it, eat and drink their own judgment (1 Cor. 11:29). So, you children of men, until when will your senses go numb? (Ps 4:3) Why don’t you see the truth and believe in the Son of God? (Jn. 9, 35) See, day after day, he humbles himself, as when he came down from his royal throne. (Wis 18, 15) in the bosom of the Virgin. Day by day He comes to us personally in this humble form. Every day he descends from his Father’s bosom to the altar in the hands of the priest.
“I believe that you, O Jesus, are in the most holy sacrament. I love you and want you. Come into my heart. I kiss you. Oh, never leave me. Let the ardent and very sweet power of your love, O Lord Jesus Christ, I beseech you, absorb my spirit so that I may die for love of your love, which you were graciously pleased to die for love of my love. .