St. Francis Would Be Proud.

Fall is officially here, and the weather has turned to usher in the beauty of autumn. It is a time when soon we will bless our animals in honor of St. Francis Day this coming Sunday, unload our pumpkins and open the great pumpkin farm, mid-October witness families and children getting their photos taken in the pumpkin patch, enjoy a haunted and historic tour within our cemetery, and marvel at the community that we have created together! It also should be a time for us to pause and ask ourselves if we are trying. I mean really trying. Trying to be a better men or women, better friends, better Christians, better Catholics, better parishioners, but most importantly to become better people.

As we come to the Feast of St. Francis, I am reminded that Francis of Assisi lived a model life of humility, compassion, and love, while consistently striving to follow the example of Jesus Christ. Shunning materialism and worldly affirmation, Francis lived a virtuous life of simplicity, and sought to honor the dignity of everyone – especially the vulnerable, and the outcast. He embraced his own imperfections and allowed God to grow into a world that so often rejected God. He was humble, unpretentious, and welcoming. We strive to do the same at Saint Miriam.

Together, we have built, and live within, a community that enjoys hospitality as its hallmark. It is why we offer Franciscan Moments, our weekly devotional; dedicated to living our Franciscan faith. It is why we have a school, re-envisioned and growing rapidly based on Francis’ ethos and devotion to every living creature being treated fairly. It is why we welcome everyone, care for one another through pastoral care, honor the living with a custom birthday card and a simple Cake Pops and candles the first Sunday of every month, wrap the ill and lonely in prayer shawls made at the hands of our own, baptize the newborn without litmus test, bury the dead the world rejects, honor and pray for the living and in all its wondered and beautiful forms: the gay, straight, divorced, Black, White, Indian, and Asian, too; the transgendered and the homeless, the addicted and the lost. Our welcome – and our love – has no bounds, no limits, no test, no end. All are welcome. Period. Francis would be proud.

As the leaves turn toward winter, and life becomes dormant to live again in the beauty of a springtime renewed, St. Francis is asking us again, as fellow Catholics, to live “authentic Christian lives.” Through his writings and life, he has repeatedly called for the Church to be “poor” and “persecuted”, NOT to be poor in spirit ourselves nor to persecute others or to demean them – or the world around us – with our words and actions. We all need to understand that dancing with the cultural, political, and social norms of our day doesn’t square with faith in the living, risen Christ.

Therefore, join me and let us pause and reflect on our lives honestly and ask ourselves if our words and our actions reflect the Man encountered in the Gospels. Do you not only get the Gospel’s message, but do you actually live it authentically?

I believe in the Jesus who ate with tax collectors, and prostitutes. I believe in a God of welcome. I believe in a God of second chances who rescued again and again the like of someone so broken as me. And if I’m not mistaken, deep down, we are more determined to do the same, despite our past…

Open the windows, and let the fresh Autumn air in. St. Francis is here again!

 

 


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