Monday of the Third Week of Lent
2 Kings 5:1–15a;
Psalm 42:2–3; 43:3–4;
“And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s home town.’” —Luke 4:24
Everyone in Assisi knew Francis Bernardone. Whether he was leading the other young men of the town in nightly revels or leading a small group of Lesser Brothers in prayer and penitence, he couldn’t be missed—or ignored. His biographers give us a glimpse into his family’s response to his conversion:
When his father saw him in this pitiful plight, he was filled with sorrow, for he had loved him very dearly; he was both grieved and ashamed to see his son half dead from penance and hardships, and whenever they met, he cursed Francis. When the servant of God heard his father’s curses, he took as his father a poor and despised outcast and said to him: “Come with me and I will give you the alms I receive; and when I hear my father cursing me, I shall turn to you saying: ‘Bless me, Father’; and then you will sign me with the cross and bless me in his place.” And when this happened, the beggar did indeed bless him; and Francis turned to his father, saying: “Do you not realize that God can give me a father whose blessing will counter your curses?” Many people, seeing his patience in suffering scorn, were amazed and upheld him admiringly.
We often find it difficult to recognize the true prophets in our midst. We dismiss them as crackpots and extremists because they make us uncomfortable. Francis might give us the inspiration we need to pause and listen to the people around us and, in their voices, hear the voice of God.
The person who practices one virtue and does not
offend against the others possesses all.
The person who offends against one virtue,
possesses none and violates all.