NOVENA TO ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI
DAY 5 (29 SEPTEMBER 2013): ST. FRANCIS AND BROTHERHOOD
Today we reflect the life of St. Francis of Assisi from the view of his fraternal love not only to humans but also to all living creatures. When I joined Capuchins, which attracted me most was the life of fraternity and the fraternal love. I have always felt this fraternal concern and support wherever I have been. It is my brothers who give me support and encouragement. It is together that we grow. We come to together without knowing each other but live loving each other. St. Francis of Assisi is our source of inspiration to live the universal brotherhood. We are a brotherhood of like-minded men who follow St. Francis’ example as a discipline in service to God.
"Truly we see in the love and concern our brother Francis bore for all creatures, a
Franciscan way to Christian Brotherhood
The first theme of Gospel living is Brotherhood. It is clear that Franciscan living, like Gospel living, is Communal. St. Francis like Christ was a Community builder. Francis was irresistibly drawn to the Gospel and took the words of Jesus (Mt 10:7-13) literally “stripping himself off all his possessions, set out bare foot and penniless to preach repentance and simple message of trust in God and joy in the sheer wonder of God’s goodness”. He posed a style of life that was strange, yet highly relevant for the time. As a protest against the corrupt monasticism, he gave a radically alternative model with a rare combination of poverty, mysticism and ‘brotherhood’. Thus Francis opted for mobility and instability of mendicanism as against the immobility and the introverted spirituality of monasticism.
Francis was considered a religious genius, the greatest that Europe had ever produced. The renewal that he initiated was long desired by many. But his call for total reformation in Christian ecclesial living did not vibrate for long. Already during his life time there were attempts to make the movement distinctly clerical which Francis resisted. The brotherhood order founded by him in 1211 became a mass movement among the faithful and had attracted some 3000 disciples by 1220.
In contest of a Church dominant with clericalism, St. Francis of Assisi presents himself as a layman, calling himself and his followers brothers without any hierarchical title whatsoever. “I have come to serve, and not to be served” (Mt 20:28).
Let us pray that we all live in the spirit of brotherhood that St. Francis wished and live like brothers whom the Lord gave to each other. St. Francis saw the entire world as one family. He called every creature as brother and sister. Let us learn to respect the nature and every creature.
St. Francis, pray for us!