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Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Francis: Be Faithful to the Gospel

Feb 17, 2021
Lent with St. Francis: Be Faithful to the Gospel

Ash Wednesday

Joel 2:12–18;
Psalm 51:3–4, 5–6, 12–13, 17;
2 Corinthians 5:20—6:2;
Matthew 6:1–6, 16–18


“Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.”

These are the words most often used as we are signed with ashes. It is a call to conversion, a call to follow Christ, a call to change our lives. Today’s reading from the Gospel of Matthew gives us the three pillars of Lent—prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These are at the heart of the Gospel’s message. No one heard this call and followed it more devotedly than St. Francis of Assisi.

But when on a certain day the Gospel was read in [the church of the Portiuncula] how the Lord sent his disciples out to preach, the holy man of God, assisting there, understood somewhat the words of the Gospel; after Mass he humbly asked the priest to explain the Gospel to him more fully. When he had set forth for him in order all these things, the holy Francis, hearing that the disciples of Christ should not possess gold or silver or money; nor carry along the way scrip, or wallet, or bread, or a staff; that they should not have shoes, or two tunics; but that they should preach the kingdom of God and penance, immediately cried out exultingly: “This is what I wish, this is what I seek, this is what I long to do with all my heart.”

Francis took a literal approach to the Gospel. He began with the most basic interpretation of a text, but he didn’t stop there. He began by throwing aside his tunic, shoes, and walking staff, but over time discovered the many ways in which possessions can keep us from seeking God. He began by carrying stones and fitting them into the crumbling walls of Assisi’s churches, but over time he inspired his followers to reinvigorate the Church with the undimmed power of the Gospel.


Prayer

Most High, Glorious God,
bring light to the darkness of my heart,
give me right faith, certain hope, and perfect charity.
Lord, give me insight and wisdom
so I might always discern
your holy and true will.
Amen.


Pause and Pray from Franciscan Media


Comments

Submitted by Nice (not verified) on Wed, 02/17/2021 - 07:41 AM

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Short,sweet, and to the point. Thanks you

Submitted by Erik Mansager (not verified) on Wed, 02/17/2021 - 07:50 AM

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Change is an ambiguous word. Our orientation for change is bound by/bordered b the Gospel, the good news of the dawning Kingdom. It is within and around us, simultaneously intrapersonal and interpersonal. Our change is well-oriented when moving forward to the "already, but not yet." Therein lies our better selves, interacting in a better way with the many. Some of them will be touched by our diligence (in growing ourselves to the full stature that God wills) and will better themselves. The virtuous cyle of Lent.

Submitted by Christopher Clody (not verified) on Wed, 02/17/2021 - 08:13 AM

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The Gospel unveils to the heart our yearnings that our minds cannot grasp but only submit to its wisdom. Its invitation in understanding the kenotic contradiction is the hidden parable within a Trinitarian love story. The unexpected grace of the Pandemic, "drove" us as a human family into the wilderness of our darkest secrets and cruelty to each other. It was my "pre-Lent", wearing a mask as charity instead of a smudge of ashes. Now Lent avails the fresh resurrection in a clearer conscience to become a channel of Peace.

Submitted by Ken Pinc (not verified) on Wed, 02/17/2021 - 09:14 AM

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What a "wonderful" way of starting your day off. This is so appreciated!!!

Submitted by Terence A Lover (not verified) on Wed, 02/17/2021 - 12:12 PM

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Reflecting upon the evolution of Francis' direction after speaking with the priest, could there possibly be a call to simplicity in our lives? Is it possible to evermore evolve and reflect upon our relationship with all of creation, both in a personal and community sense? Look deeply at forests, animals, and one another to see the unfolding role that we play each day! Peace.

Submitted by Michelle O (not verified) on Wed, 02/17/2021 - 01:48 PM

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Renewal & conversion and being faithful to the gospel is especially important this lenten season this year and should always be. May it continue

Submitted by Mary (not verified) on Wed, 02/17/2021 - 02:21 PM

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Thank you for this simple prayer.

Submitted by Ann (not verified) on Thu, 02/18/2021 - 04:23 AM

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Very beautiful prayer to say always.

Submitted by magda ways (not verified) on Thu, 02/18/2021 - 08:05 PM

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THANK YOU CARING AND SHARING. GOD BLESS, PEACE

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