Thursday, September 26, 2013

NOVENA TO ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI DAY 3 (27 SEPTEMBER 2013): ST. FRANCIS MAN OF THE GOSPEL

NOVENA TO ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI
DAY 3 (27 SEPTEMBER 2013): ST. FRANCIS MAN OF THE GOSPEL

Today, let us reflect on the theme, St. Francis, Man of the Gospel. In his day, Francis was known as much for his preaching as for his lifestyle. We read in one of the earlier biographies, "His words were neither hollow nor ridiculous, but filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, penetrating the marrow of the heart, so that listeners were turned to great amazement."

He wanted everyone to love Jesus and find joy in life with him. To help people discover that, however, Francis knew he had to proclaim the Gospel. He had to tell people about Christ, about his mercy and his love, his death and Resurrection, his Church and his sacraments. He had to tell people what God asked of them, what God wanted for them. So, every chance Francis got, he proclaimed the Gospel. He proclaimed it to the wolves in the forest. He proclaimed it to the Sultan in Egypt. He wouldn’t stop talking about Jesus. He couldn’t.

Pope Paul VI in his 1974 encyclical on evangelization, Evangelii Nuntiandi wrote, “Nevertheless [witness] always remains insufficient, because even the finest witness will prove ineffective in the long run if it is not explained, justified…and made explicit by a clear and unequivocal proclamation of the Lord Jesus. The Good News proclaimed by the witness of life sooner or later has to be proclaimed by the word of life. There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed.”

Gospel of Mathew 10:5-15 for reading and Reflection:
 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans.  Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts—no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
We must live the Church’s teachings, and we must speak them. Let us earnestly pray for the evangelization of the world. Let us pray that God makes us as His instruments of His Word.

Prayer and Thanksgiving of St. Francis of Assisi
God, all powerful, most holy,
most high and supreme;
FATHER: holy and righteous;
Lord: king of heaven and earth;
we thank you for yourself,
because by your holy will
and through your only Son
and the Holy Spirit
you created all things,
spiritual and material.
You made us in your
image and likeness
and placed us in paridise,
and we, through our transgression
fell away.
We give you thanks because,
as you created us through your Son,
so by the holy love
with which you loved us
you willed your Son to be born
true God and true man
of the glorious and holy Virgin Mary,
and through his cross and blood and death
it was your will to set us free
from our captivity.
Also we thank you
because that same Son of yours
will come again in the glory of his majesty
to condemn those who refused to repent
and acknowledge you;
and to say
to all who did acknowledge,
worship and serve you in repentance:
Come, you whom my Father has blessed,
receive the kingdom
prepared for you
since the world began.
And because we are all wretched sinners,
unworthy to speak your name,
therefore let Jesus Christ himself,
our Lord and your beloved Son
in whom you are well pleased,
give thanks to you for everything,
together with the Holy Spirit the Paraclete,
as it pleases you and pleases him.
He always satisfies you in everything,
and through him
you have done so much for us.

Alleluia!

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