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Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Francis: The Least of These

Feb 22, 2021
Lent with St. Francis: The Least of These

Monday of the First Week of Lent

Leviticus 19:1–2, 11–18; Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 15;
Matthew 25:31–46

“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
—Matthew 25:40


If we followed only this verse in the Gospel, we would understand and be part of the kingdom of God. Francis spent his entire life after his conversion serving the least and the lowly. In doing so, he came to know Jesus. From the time he spontaneously embraced the leper, after so many years of being repulsed at the very sight of lepers on the outskirts of Assisi, he recognized the presence of Christ in everyone he met. Francis knew that he needed to confront something deep within his soul that was keeping him from following Christ. We might pause to ask what fear we need to confront.

In his last written words to his brothers, his Testament, Francis said:

This is how God inspired me, Brother Francis, to embark upon a life of penance. When I was in sin, the sight of lepers nauseated me beyond measure; but then God himself led me into their company, and I had pity on them. When I had once become acquainted with them, what had previously nauseated me became a source of spiritual and physical consolation for me. After that I did not wait long before leaving the world.


Prayer

We should wish for nothing else and have no other desire;
we should find no pleasure or delight in anything except
in our Creator, Redeemer, and Savior;
he alone is true God, who is perfect good, all good, every good.
Amen.


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Comments

Submitted by Reboux (not verified) on Mon, 02/22/2021 - 07:43 AM

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Thank you for this Franciscan way which helps us follow Jesus, in Brother Francis' companionship.

Submitted by Rita (not verified) on Mon, 02/22/2021 - 09:36 AM

In reply to by Reboux (not verified)

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St Francis delivered a miracle to me years ago, so i am ever devoted to him. & Thank you for today's meditation reminding me to acknowledge my fears. I need to redirect my focus onto our savior whenever i feel distracted by my fears.

Submitted by Mark Mayo (not verified) on Mon, 02/22/2021 - 08:59 AM

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We are Anglican but St. Francis is a personal favorite. Thank you for doing this! Peace of Christ!

Submitted by Sr. Rose Dvorak osf (not verified) on Mon, 02/22/2021 - 09:14 AM

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Sometimes, just beginning. Then carrying it through.

Submitted by jeremiah ofs (not verified) on Mon, 02/22/2021 - 09:20 AM

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Who do we consider lovers that are unclean? Conservatives? Those who deny climate change?Those who are Judge mental? Those who won’t wear masks? Maybe we need to face our own lepers, So we can prayerfully seek to understand where they are coming from as we interact with them. Jeremiah ofs

Submitted by Helen L. Tummi… (not verified) on Mon, 02/22/2021 - 10:46 AM

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I know that I was conflicted for being greedy during serving the less fortunate and God let me see how wrong it was for me to do this and caused me to be sorrowful for what I did. This helps me understand that we must always follow God's will and not ours. I am so sorry my Jesus. Helen, OFS

Submitted by Carol Ann Stephens (not verified) on Mon, 02/22/2021 - 10:54 AM

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I'm sorry. How in the world am I a leper because I am conservative?! I would say it's the other way around.

Submitted by Sheryl Banak (not verified) on Tue, 02/23/2021 - 12:07 AM

In reply to by Carol Ann Stephens (not verified)

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I did not see anything about conservative, liberal or otherwise. Only seeing God in others. And the growth in Francis as he let go of earthly treasures & served the Lord. God Bless You.

Submitted by Terence Lover (not verified) on Mon, 02/22/2021 - 12:30 PM

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What a challenge to embrace all of creation! This could demand of us to look at others compassionately and to attempt to understand their opinions, their actions, their words. This may help us and them alike to grow. There may be times when we don't realize certain things about our characteristics unless we are open to allowing ourselves evolve. As Francis began to see lepers differently, may we see others differently, forgive ourselves for our own shortcomings, and allow shared existence to glorify God. Peace.

Submitted by Elwan (not verified) on Mon, 02/22/2021 - 12:34 PM

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The Pharisees always had certainty. From it flowed pride. Do we read these messages to confirm our own certainty. Pride is supposed to be one of the worst sins. I remember as a child being taught the saying " There but for the Grace of God go I" when we 'see' others do something bad

Submitted by Joanne (not verified) on Mon, 02/22/2021 - 03:48 PM

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It is easy to “feel” uneasy, fearful, disappointed in others or ourselves, annoyed etc......but it is then that we need to turn to Him and ask Jesus what His will is for us. Let go, let Him ease all of this....don’t continue to feel frustration, uneasiness, doubt.....He already has a plan for you if you but ask AND receive.

Submitted by Albert Ignatiu… (not verified) on Mon, 02/22/2021 - 04:07 PM

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May God bless St. Francis for leaving such a simple path for us all to follow , to become true disciples of our lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Submitted by Sean Farry (not verified) on Tue, 02/23/2021 - 01:03 AM

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I believe who we view as being a "leper" today is anyone we view to be dirty or undesirable. It's the person we just want to avoid. This could be the homeless guy on the corner. It could be the undocumented young man cooking our Mexican food in the back of the restaurant. Or it could be a conservative who loves Trump or a liberal who despises Trump. Whoever it is that we want to hate or to avoid in this world, this is the "leper" in our lives. It's easier to hate someone when you can put a label on them, if you can avoid them. Yet, if you are brought into their company and you become acquainted with them, what once had been nauseating to you has the potential to become a consolation because you come to see the presence of God in them. If we can recognize God in one another, we can more easily let go of our fears and let go of the labels we place upon one another. The only label that really counts to God is "my beloved," "my son or daughter of God."

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