I attended Church service at the Hendon Methodist Church with family on Sunday morning, 4th October. I enjoyed the sermon because I learnt something new.
What was that? St Francis of Assisi whose life so inspired the creation of the Order of St Francis or Franciscans. He was born in 1182 and died at the age of 44 on 3rd October, 1226. He preached to birds and turned his back on great wealth to be able to witness for Christ and Christianity. I am sure that there are many stories of his life which I’ll never know unless I devote myself to reading books about him or become a Catholic.
Although I don’t think that would be necessary. Apart from the brief and simple description above, he may have done a million things which are probably not recorded but great ideas emerged from some of these characteristics have become very much a part of the life of a latter day Christian.
I did a quick Google search and found something really interesting. The Order of Franciscan Sisters. I found the blog called “Franciscan Footprints: Sisters in the Making”. The blog is by Sister Veronica, a Novice with the ” Third Order of St Francis dedicated to healthcare apostolate”. She says being a Novice is “the second step in the process of becoming a Roman Catholic Sister”. Wow! I thought Franciscans were made up of just men! Well, as they say, you live and learn.
Her post for 3rd October read, “This evening we attended a Transitus Service celebrating the death of our Holy Father Saint Francis. It was a time to reflect both on his life and his death culminating in the veneration of a relic of St. Francis by Monsignor Oberch (our Chaplain), and all of us Sisters. What a rich heritage we have, both as Franciscans & in our community. God is SO good to us!”. Read more at: http://blog.franciscansisterspeoria.org
I am still learning about great iconic characters in history who have shaped our modern understanding and imterpretation of Christianity. So I felt inspired to learn something that will help me remember this character. This is probably a great way to learn about great witnesses for Christ in the history of humanity – remember something unique about the person. For St Francis of Assisi – for me, it would have to be is his prayer.
I am so pleased that the Order of St Francis is not exclusively for men. I now know that women are part of this Order.
I am really grateful for Sister Veronica’s blog and her continuing contribution towards demystifying some of the practices of Catholicism.
Prayer of St Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.