Guest Post! The Feast of St. Francis ~ The Rt. Rev. Edmund N. Cass, OSF, OCR

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My dear brothers and sisters, today we rejoice in the Feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the little poor man of God. This beloved saint of the Middle Ages, renown the world over as “patron of animals, ecology and all tree huggers” is in fact, one of the greatest of the saints of his time. With St. Dominic, his friend, their respective religious Orders brought renewal and reform to both the Church and the society of their time. Born into a wealthy merchant family, Francis found himself transformed by Christ in a dramatic way. The once proud son of a Merchant, became the poverello the minstrel of Christ. Singing the stories of the Christ he went about at the beginning of his conversion spreading Christ’s joy. Soon though, he would find his calling deepen and his passion for the Cross enkindled by the Holy Spirit. Moved to tears upon seeing a leper, one who he once reviled, he embraced and kissed the fellow, seeing Christ before him. He began to minister to the lepers around Assisi, allowing them to live in close proximity to him. It was at this time he began to rebuild several small churches as well. Gathering disciples, the radical living of the Gospel attracted and continues to attract many men and women who feel compelled by the Holy Spirit to give up all for the Gospel and identify themselves with the least, lost and forsaken. What is the message of Francis for us…it is simply, the message of the Cross. To glory in nothing but the Cross of Christ. To have nothing, thus allowing God to provide for all our needs. To comfort the afflicted, shelter the homeless, feed the hungry and to set captives free by showing how to live the liberating Gospel of poverty. It is to identify with those no one wishes to associate with and to proclaim to all that, “I see Christ in you, you are therefore, my hope of glory.” You see, when we find Christ in each other, we serve as Christ served, love as Christ loved and live as Christ LIVES! On this Feast day, let us glory in nothing but the cross of Christ, find our joy in him in all we meet and hold out to the end to live with him forever. Friar Ed Cass, CFS

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