Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Prayer of Saint 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 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.



Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi, religious

Jon 3:1-10

The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:

"Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you."
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD's bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day's walk announcing,
"Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,"
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small,
put on sackcloth.

When the news reached the king of Nineveh,
he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe,
covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh,
by decree of the king and his nobles:
"Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep,
shall taste anything;
they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.
Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth
and call loudly to God;
every man shall turn from his evil way
and from the violence he has in hand.
Who knows, God may relent and forgive,
and withhold his blazing wrath,
so that we shall not perish."
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 130:1b-2, 3-4ab, 7-8

R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.

R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.

R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

Let Israel wait for the LORD,
For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.

R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

Lk 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
"Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me."
The Lord said to her in reply,

"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her."


October 4

St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a sense of self-importance.

Serious illness brought the young Francis to see the emptiness of his frolicking life as leader of Assisi's youth. Prayer—lengthy and difficult—led him to a self-emptying like that of Christ, climaxed by embracing a leper he met on the road. It symbolized his complete obedience to what he had heard in prayer: "Francis! Everything you have loved and desired in the flesh it is your duty to despise and hate, if you wish to know my will. And when you have begun this, all that now seems sweet and lovely to you will become intolerable and bitter, but all that you used to avoid will turn itself to great sweetness and exceeding joy."

From the cross in the neglected field-chapel of San Damiano, Christ told him, "Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down." Francis became the totally poor and humble workman.

He must have suspected a deeper meaning to "build up my house." But he would have been content to be for the rest of his life the poor "nothing" man actually putting brick on brick in abandoned chapels. He gave up all his possessions, piling even his clothes before his earthly father (who was demanding restitution for Francis' "gifts" to the poor) so that he would be totally free to say, "Our Father in heaven." He was, for a time, considered to be a religious fanatic, begging from door to door when he could not get money for his work, evokng sadness or disgust to the hearts of his former friends, ridicule from the unthinking.

But genuineness will tell. A few people began to realize that this man was actually trying to be Christian. He really believed what Jesus said: "Announce the kingdom! Possess no gold or silver or copper in your purses, no traveling bag, no sandals, no staff" (see Luke 9:1-3).

Francis' first rule for his followers was a collection of texts from the Gospels. He had no idea of founding an order, but once it began he protected it and accepted all the legal structures needed to support it. His devotion and loyalty to the Church were absolute and highly exemplary at a time when various movements of reform tended to break the Church's unity.

He was torn between a life devoted entirely to prayer and a life of active preaching of the Good News. He decided in favor of the latter, but always returned to solitude when he could. He wanted to be a missionary in Syria or in Africa, but was prevented by shipwreck and illness in both cases. He did try to convert the sultan of Egypt during the Fifth Crusade.

During the last years of his relatively short life (he died at 44), he was half blind and seriously ill. Two years before his death, he received the stigmata, the real and painful wounds of Christ in his hands, feet and side.

On his deathbed, he said over and over again the last addition to his Canticle of the Sun, "Be praised, O Lord, for our Sister Death." He sang Psalm 141, and at the end asked his superior to have his clothes removed when the last hour came and for permission to expire lying naked on the earth, in imitation of his Lord.


O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Invitatory Psalm

Psalm 66 (67)
Come, let us worship God, so wonderful in all his saints.

Come, let us worship God, so wonderful in all his saints.
O God, take pity on us and bless us,
and let your face shine upon us,
so that your ways may be known across the world,
and all nations learn of your salvation.
Come, let us worship God, so wonderful in all his saints.
Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and rejoice,
for you judge the peoples with fairness
and you guide the nations of the earth.
Come, let us worship God, so wonderful in all his saints.
Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has produced its harvest:
may God, our God, bless us.
May God bless us,
may the whole world revere him.
Come, let us worship God, so wonderful in all his saints.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Come, let us worship God, so wonderful in all his saints.


O light of light, O Dayspring bright,
Co-equal in thy Father’s light:
Assist us, as with prayer and psalm
Thy servants break the nightly calm.
All darkness from our minds dispel,
And turn to flight the hosts of hell:
Bid sleepfulness our eyelids fly,
Lest overwhelmed in sloth we lie.
Jesu, thy pardon, kind and free,
Bestow on us who trust in thee:
And as thy praises we declare,
O with acceptance hear our prayer.
O Father, that we ask be done,
Through Jesus Christ, thine only Son,
Who, with the Holy Ghost and thee,
Doth live and reign eternally.

Psalm 67 (68)
The Lord's triumphal journey

Let God arise, let those who hate him flee before him.

God arises and his enemies are scattered:
those who hate him flee from his sight.
You blow them away like wisps of smoke;
as wax melts in front of a fire,
so the wicked melt away before God.
The righteous are glad and exult in God’s sight;
they rejoice in their gladness.
Sing to the Lord and celebrate his name!
Make a road for him who rides upon the clouds –
“The Lord” is his name.
Rejoice in his sight,
the father of orphans, defender of widows,
God in his holy dwelling-place,
God, who gives the lonely a house to dwell in,
God, who leads captives out into prosperity;
but the rebellious shall live in a desert land.
God, when you set out in the sight of your people,
when you crossed the wilderness – the earth shook.
The heavens sent down dew at your coming –
the God of Sinai, the God of Israel.
At your bidding the rains came, O God,
your inheritance was worn out but you refreshed it.
All your creatures took up residence there,
in your goodness you made a place for the needy.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Let God arise, let those who hate him flee before him.

Psalm 67 (68)

The Lord gives out the word,
and a great army of maidens brings the news:
“The kings of the armies are fleeing, they are fleeing,
and the fair one at home is dividing the spoils.
While you sleep among the sheepfolds,
the wings of the dove shine with silver,
her feathers glow with green gold.
Through her the Almighty scatters the kings,
and the mountain of Zalmon is white with snow.
The mountain of Bashan is God’s mountain;
the mountain of God is a high-peaked mountain.
Why do you envy it, you high-peaked mountains,
envy the mountain that God has chosen?
The Lord will dwell there for ever.
The chariots of God are ten thousand thousand:
the Lord has come from Sinai to his holy sanctuary.
You have scaled the heights, you have taken captives,
you have received men as gifts
so that even the rebels live with the Lord God.
Blessings on the Lord, day after day!
God will carry us, God our saviour.
Our God is a God of salvation,
our Lord is a Lord who rescues from death.
Truly God will break the heads of his enemies,
take the scalps of those who tread the path of crime.
The Lord has spoken:
“I shall bring them back from Bashan,
I shall bring them back from the depths of the sea,
so that your feet may be dipped in blood
and the tongues of your dogs receive food from your enemies.”
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
This God of ours is a God who saves. The Lord holds the keys of death.

Psalm 67 (68)
Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God, praise the Lord.

They have seen your processions, O God,
the processions of God, my king, to his sanctuary.
First came the singers, last the musicians,
between them the maidens playing their drums.
“Bless God in the assemblies:
bless the Lord, you who spring from Israel!”
There was young Benjamin, leading them,
the princes of Judah in their rich robes,
the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.
O God, command in your strength;
make firm what you have achieved in us.
From your temple in Jerusalem,
kings shall bring you tribute.
Rebuke the wild beast of the reeds,
the herd of bulls, the lords of peoples.
Let them lie prostrate before you with tribute of silver.
Scatter the peoples that delight in war.
Nobles will come from Egypt,
Ethiopia will stretch out its hands to God.
Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God;
celebrate the Lord.
Sing to God who rides on the highest heavens,
at the origin of all things.
Listen! – he speaks, a voice of power.
Acknowledge the strength of the Lord:
his majesty is over Israel,
his strength is in the clouds.
God inspires awe in his holy place;
he, the God of Israel, gives power to his people;
he gives them strength.
Blessed be God!
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God, praise the Lord.

I will hear whatever the Lord God has to say:
words of peace for his people.


1 Timothy 3:1-16
Here is a saying that you can rely on: To want to be a presiding elder is to want to do a noble work. That is why the president must have an impeccable character. He must not have been married more than once, and he must be temperate, discreet and courteous, hospitable and a good teacher; not a heavy drinker, nor hot-tempered, but kind and peaceable. He must not be a lover of money. He must be a man who manages his own family well and brings his children up to obey him and be well-behaved: how can any man who does not understand how to manage his own family have responsibility for the church of God? He should not be a new convert, in case pride might turn his head and then he might be condemned as the devil was condemned. It is also necessary that people outside the Church should speak well of him, so that he never gets a bad reputation and falls into the devil’s trap.

In the same way, deacons must be respectable men whose word can be trusted, moderate in the amount of wine they drink and with no squalid greed for money. They must be conscientious believers in the mystery of the faith. They are to be examined first, and only admitted to serve as deacons if there is nothing against them. In the same way, the women must be respectable, not gossips but sober and quite reliable. Deacons must not have been married more than once, and must be men who manage their children and families well. Those of them who carry out their duties well as deacons will earn a high standing for themselves and be rewarded with great assurance in their work for the faith in Christ Jesus.

At the moment of writing to you, I am hoping that I may be with you soon; but in case I should be delayed, I wanted you to know how people ought to behave in God’s family – that is, in the Church of the living God, which upholds the truth and keeps it safe. Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is very deep indeed:
He was made visible in the flesh,
attested by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed to the pagans,
believed in by the world,
taken up in glory.

Keep watch over the flock of which the Holy Spirit has given you the charge, as shepherds of the Church of God, which he won for himself by the blood of his own Son.
Stewards are expected to show themselves trustworthy, as shepherds of the Church of God, which he won for himself by the blood of his own Son.


A letter from St Francis of Assisi to all the faithful
We must be simple, humble and pure

It was through his archangel, Saint Gabriel, that the Father above made known to the holy and glorious Virgin Mary that the worthy, holy and glorious Word of the Father would come from heaven and take from her womb the real flesh of our human frailty. Though he was wealthy beyond reckoning, he still willingly chose to be poor with his blessed mother. And shortly before his passion he celebrated the Passover with his disciples. Then he prayed to his Father saying: Father, if it be possible, let this cup be taken from me.

Nevertheless, he reposed his will in the will of his Father. The Father willed that his blessed and glorious Son, whom he gave to us and who was born for us, should through his own blood offer himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross. This was to be done not for himself through whom all things were made, but for our sins. It was intended to leave us an example of how to follow in his footsteps. And he desires all of us to be saved through him, and to receive him with pure heart and chaste body.

O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord himself said in the gospel: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul; and your neighbour as yourself. Therefore, let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind. This is his particular desire when he says: True worshippers adore the Father in spirit and truth. For all who adore him must do so in the spirit of truth. Let us also direct to him our praises and prayers saying:Our Father, who art in heaven, since we must always pray and never grow slack.

Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neighbours as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father’s children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven; blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, they shall be satisfied: blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Let us pray.

Lord God, you made Saint Francis of Assisi Christ-like in his poverty and humility.
Help us so to walk in his ways that, with joy and love, we may follow Christ your Son, and be united to you.
We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.

Let us bless the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.