St. Francis is one of the greatest saints in the history of Christianity. You can learn all about him by clicking his name above. As I mentioned in yesterday's posting, I had the chance to be in Assisi for his feast day during the Jubilee Year of 2000. I've been to Assisi many times, but this trip was special. I was with my mother and sister, along with a good friend of mine who later became a priest.
Maybe I'll do a posting about Assisi sometime soon, but for now I want to share some thoughts that come from Catherine Doherty's book Grace in Every Season.
There is much pain in life. How could it be otherwise when we are following a crucified God, whose whole incarnation (to say nothing of his crucifixion) was not exactly without pain? Consider the 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; and where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console; 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.
These words are a cry of pain that conveys the hurt of a soul. He is asking God not be consoled, not to be understood, not to be loved. Just these few sentences are pain- terrible pain. If you pray this prayer and mean it, you are already allowing pain to enter your soul.
But this is beautiful pain, my friends, because it is a pain offered for the world. It is the pain of abandonment, of surrender to God. Did you really expect to have life without pain? This is an impossibility, my dearly beloved, because it is through pain that you share in the lot of humanity. It is through this pain that you will resurrect!