Saturday, October 4, 2008

St. Francis

"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on the cheek, turn and offer the other one also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop them from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do unto others as you would have them do to you."

St. Francis had been a callous, sophisticated, wealthy young man. He had way more than he needed and didn't notice the suffering around him. He faced some rough times, and somehow, God's love broke through to him in his failure and his broken heart. Somehow love broke the mold. He was destined for position, fame and extraordinary wealth. God met him at his crossroads and he took the path of selflessness, compassion and care for all the people and creatures in the world, following Christ who showed him love. His failure turned his world around, and impacts our world directly. Francis loved his enemies, and cared for the people and the world he had previously discarded. The people and creatures who the world threw away became the focus of his mission and devotion.

May we have the courage of Francis today, to love our enemies and to care for the discarded and the disenfranchised. Francis saw the presence of Christ in those he ministered to, he knew peace in his heart as he reach out in the love that Christ gave him, and he set aside privilege and station so that many might have a better life and a compassionate relationship with God. The Church of St. Francis' time wasn't too keen on his behavior. He didn't initially have many friends or supported. May we be strong today knowing that we have God's approval when we love the unlovable - no matter what the powers and authority think or say. Christ is known as we give love away - especially to our enemies.

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