Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Psalm 34:4–5, 6–7, 16–17, 18–19;
“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” —Matthew 6:7
In committing himself to a life of poverty, Francis took seriously the belief that God would provide his daily bread. He was also mindful of the impression he and his brothers made, leaving their wealth and then begging food from the townspeople.
When they begged for alms in the city they received very little else than reproaches at having left their own possessions in order to eat at the expense of others. This caused them much suffering and great want. They were persecuted by their friends and relatives and by the citizens generally, both rich and poor, of all ranks, who derided them as madmen and fools, because at that time no one spontaneously left his own goods to beg from door to door. Francis began his new life by rebuilding churches stone by stone. He and his early followers offered to work in the fields around Assisi in return for food and a place to sleep. With Jesus, he believed that “a laborer is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:7). If they couldn’t find work, they would beg what they needed for that day.
Our world is far different than that of a medieval walled city, but the basic principles remain the same. We need to be mindful of those who seek work, but also of those who need basic food and shelter.
Nothing, then, must keep us back,
nothing separate us from him,
nothing come between us and him.
At all times and seasons, in every country and place,
every day and all day, we must have a true and humble faith,
and keep him in our hearts. Amen.