March 9, 2014
The Lord gave me, Brother Francis, thus to begin doing penance in this way: for when I was in sin, it seemed too bitter for me to see lepers. And the Lord Himself led me among them and I showed mercy to them. And when I left them, what had seemed bitter to me was turned into sweetness of soul and body.
St. Francis of Assisi, “The Testament,” 124
Scripture for the day: Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:34-40)
Lenten action for the day: Early in his life, St. Francis was repulsed by lepers. Later, he began to see Christ in their faces. Is there a person or group you turn away from, or intentionally avoid? Take a step to reach out, and show them the love of Christ.
March 8, 2014
Among the other gifts that we have received and continue to receive form our magnanimous Father of mercies and for which we must express the deepest thanks to our glorious God, there is our vocation, which the more perfect and greater it is, the more are we indebted to Him. There the Apostle (writes): Recognize your vocation. The Son of God has become for the Way that our blessed father Francis, His true lover and imitator , has shown and taught us by word and example.
St. Clare of Assisi, “The Testament,” 60
Scripture for the day: Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)
Lenten action for the day: Each of us is called to bring Christ to others in our own particular circumstances in life. This is our unique vocation. Take time to reflect on what Christ is calling you to do with your life, and strive to live this calling out faithfully.
March 7, 2014
I wish to know in this way if you love the Lord and me, His servant and yours: that there is not any brother in the world who has sinned – however much he could have sinned – who, after he has looked into your eyes, would ever depart without your mercy, if he is looking for mercy. And if he were not looking for mercy, you would ask him if he wants mercy. And if he would sin a thousand times before your eyes, love him more than me so that you may draw him to the Lord: and always be merciful with brothers such as these…
St. Francis of Assisi, “A Letter to a Minister,” 97-98
Scripture for the day: And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need…And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:11-14, 20-24)
Lenten action for the day: When someone wrongs you, rather than demanding that he or she make up for what they have done, demonstrate mercy by “letting them off the hook”.