Friday, September 27, 2013

NOVENA TO ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI: DAY 4 (28 SEPTEMBER 2013) - ST. FRANCIS AND HOLY EUCHARIST

NOVENA TO ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI
DAY 4 (28 SEPTEMBER 2013): ST. FRANCIS AND HOLY EUCHARIST

St. Francis was absolutely devoted to the Eucharist. It’s one of the reasons he was so concerned about rebuilding and cleaning local churches, making them suitable homes for the Eucharist. Thomas of Celano tells us that concerned citizens brought St. Francis to their parish priest who was living in sin; they wanted the saint to reprimand him and condemn his sinful way of life. Instead, St. Francis knelt, took the priest’s hands and said, “I know not whether this priest is sinful. I only know that these hands, and these hands alone, make present upon the altar my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”  Francis’s respect for the clergy was based on the priest’s power to change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, “in whom all things in heaven and on earth are made peaceful and are reconciled to God the Almighty.”  He cannot be separated from his belief in and devotion to the sacraments and doctrines of the Church.

St. Francis of Assisi Eucharistic Quotes:

"What wonderful majesty! What stupendous condescension! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the whole universe, God and the Son of God, should humble Himself like this under the form of a little bread, for our salvation"

"...In this world I cannot see the Most High Son of God with my own eyes, except for His Most Holy Body and Blood."

From the writings of St. Francis of Assisi on THE BLESSED SACRAMENT: Our Lord Jesus said to His disciples: "I am The Way, The Truth and The Life. Nobody can come to the Father except through Me. If you had recognized Me, you would have recognized My Father too. And from now on you will recognize Him, since you have seen Him." Philip said to Him: "Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him: "Have I been so long a time with you and you have not learned who I am? Philip whoever sees Me, sees My Father too" (Jn. 14:6-9).

Now, the Father dwells in light that cannot be penetrated (1 Tim. 6:16), and God is a spirit (Jn. 4:24), and nobody has ever seen God (Jn 1:18). Because God is a spirit, therefore He can be seen only by means of the spirit, for it is the spirit that gives life, whereas the flesh is of no avail (Jn. 6:64).

But since the Son is like the Father, he too is seen by nobody otherwise than the Father is seen or otherwise than the Holy Spirit is seen. And so it was that those who saw our Lord Jesus Christ only in a human way and did not see nor believe that He was the true Son of God, as the spirit and his Divine nature demand - they all stood condemned.

And so now with all those who see the Blessed Sacrament, sanctified by our Lord's words on the altar, through the hands of the priest, in the form of bread and wine: if they do not see and believe, as the spirit and the Divine nature demand that it is truly the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, they stand 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" (Mk. 14:22-24) and, "He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood, has life everlasting." (Jn. 6:55)

"And just as He appeared before the holy Apostles in true flesh, so now He has us see Him in the Sacred Bread. Looking at Him with the eyes of their flesh, they saw only His Flesh, but regarding Him with the eyes of the spirit, they believed that He was God. In like manner, as we see bread and wine with our bodily eyes, let us see and believe firmly that it is His Most Holy Body and Blood, True and Living. For in this way our Lord is ever present among those who believe in him, according to what He said: "Behold, I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world." (Mt. 28:20)

Meditation of St. Francis of Assisi

Let everyone be struck with fear,
the whole world tremble,
and the heavens exult
when Christ, the Son of the living God,
is present on the altar in the hands of a priest!
O wonderful loftiness
and stupendous dignity!
O sublime humility!
O humble sublimity!
The Lord of the universe,
God and the Son of God,
so humbles Himself
that He hides Himself
for our salvation
under and ordinary piece of bread!
See the humility of God, brothers,
and pour out your hearts before Him!
Humble yourselves that you may be exalted by Him!
Hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves,
that He Who gives Himself totally to you
may receive you totally!

"I believe that You, O Jesus, are in the most holy Sacrament.  I love
You and desire You.  Come into my heart.  I embrace You.  Oh, never leave me.
May the burning and most sweet power of Your love, O Lord Jesus Christ, I
beseech You, absorb my mind that I may die through love of Your love, Who were
graciously pleased to die through love of my love." (St. Francis)

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