This year St. Francis has become much more a center of my spirituality.
A visit to Assisi in February was central, but several books on Francis have been very helpful in focusing on who Francis is.
Jesus is central for Francis. Not just any Jesus, but the Jesus who is God made flesh, born into poverty, and dying on a cross.
Jesus, the compassionate, poor, suffering Messiah, called Francis.
Francis experienced Christ’ call to repair the church as he gaze don the cross in San Damiano. Francis experienced the wounds of Christ, as he was visited by the Seraphic Crucified Christ on Mount Alverna.
Francis experienced the poor Christ in the embrace of a leper and in his identification with the marginalized of his day.
Francis experienced the incarnate Christ as he reenacted the Nativity in Greccio.
Francis loved Christ present in the Eucharist – and prayed with great devotion in churches.
Francis saw the presence of God in all creation, as he wrote his Canticle of the Sun.
So, we who follow Francis are called to praise the Creator.
We are called to love the Eucharist.
We ought to identify with the marginalized of this world.
We need to remember that we are loved by a God who became flesh.
Thus we can turn from a world that ignores the poor, that seeks power and wealth, that uses weapons to dominate.
And we can do this with joy.