Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The Wisdom of St Francis

St Francis juggling animals in Heaven.

"Be conscious O human, of the wondrous state in which the Lord God has placed you...all the creatures under Heaven, each according to its nature, serve, know and obey their Creator better than you."

I have a lovely little book called, quite aptly 'A Little Book of St Francis of Assisi'. Each page has a little phrase of spiritual depth and beauty on it which I always find helpful. What everyone admired about St Francis of Assisi was not just the fact that he had renounced everything for Christ, not that he was generous to the poor, nor just that his union with God was perfect or that he was very fond of animals they of him. They admired him and we now revere him too for his great humility.

"It seems to me that I am the greatest of sinners, for if God had treated any criminal with such great mercy he would be ten times more spiritual than I."

Pray for us, Blessed Saint Francis, that we may imitate the humility and spiritual poverty of Christ.

"If you give sight to the blind, heal the paralysed, drive out devils, give hearing back to the deaf, make the lame walk, and restore speech to the dumb, and what is more, bring back to life a man who has been dead for four days - perfect joy is not in that.

If you knew all languages and all sciences and scripture, if you knew how to prophesy and to reveal the future, the secrets of consciences and minds of others - perfect joy is not in that.

If you could speak with the voice of an angel, and knew all the courses of the stars and the powers of herbs, knew all about the treasures in the earth, and the qualities of birds and fishes, animals, humans roots, trees, rocks and the deep waters - perfect joy is not in that.

If you could preach so well that you should convert all unbelievers to the faith of Christ - perfect joy is not in there.

Above all the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit is that of conquering oneself and willingly enduring sufferings, insults, humiliations and hardships for the love of Christ...

If we endure cruel rebuffs patiently, without being troubled and without complaining, and if we reflect humbly and charitably when others speak against us - perfect joy is there!"

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