Minute Meditations

‘Let Us Begin Again’

doves flying out of the basilica

“…he saw and believed” (John 20:8).

Easter is a beginning, not an ending. And this Easter story from Thomas of Celano reminds us that for Francis, the challenge to remain true to the Gospel was one that needed to be renewed again and again.

It happened one Easter that the brothers at the hermitage of Greccio prepared the table more carefully than they usually did with white linens and glassware. Coming down from his cell, the father came to the table and saw that it was placed high and decorated extrava- gantly. But he did not smile at the smiling table. Stealthily and little by little he retraced his steps, put on the hat of a poor man who was there, and taking a staff in his hand, he went outside. He waited outside at the door until the brothers began to eat; for they were in the habit of not waiting for him when he did not come at the signal. When they had begun to eat, this truly poor man cried out at the door; “For the love of the Lord God,” he said, “give an alms to this poor, sick wanderer.” The brothers answered: “Come in, man, for love of him whom you have invoked.” He immediately entered and appeared before them as they were eating. But what astonishment, do you think, the beggar caused these inhabitants? The beggar was given a dish, and sitting alone, he put the dish in the ashes. “Now I am sitting as a Friar Minor should sit,” he said.

Francis was like that other pilgrim alone in Jerusalem that day. But he made the hearts of the disciples burn when he spoke to them.

—from the book Lent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections
by Diane M. Houdek

Lent with St. Francis

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1 thought on “‘Let Us Begin Again’”

  1. Arlene B. Muller

    EASTER is a celebration of the most wonderful event in history: JESUS CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD & GAINED VICTORY OVER SATAN, SIN & DEATH! Why shouldn’t it be a day of feasting & setting a beautiful table, as long as that beautiful table is not depriving the poor!!
    I can understand St. Francis posing in the disguise of a poor beggar, & I think that the friars passed the test by welcoming whom they believed to be a poor stranger & giving him a beautiful plate of food! I do not understand why St. Francis would place the plate of food in the ashes! That makes no sense!
    EASTER is an even greater & more significant feast than CHRISTMAS. At CHRISTMAS we celebrate the INCARNATION: GOD taking on our humanity & being born. EASTER is the culmination of what began at the ANNUNCIATION & at CHRISTMAS: JESUS CHRIST WAS BORN, GREW UP, HAD A PUBLIC MINISTRY LIVING AMONG US PREACHING, TEACHING, HEALING & DELIVERING PEOPLE FROM DEMONS, SUFFERING HIS PASSION, DYING ON THE CROSS, BEING BURIED AND, FINALLY, RISING FROM THE DEAD!
    I remember reading that someone questioned St. Francis why he & the friars were eating meat & not fasting on CHRISTMAS. St. Francis gave a response that was hyperbole: “AT CHRISTMAS THE WALLS SHOULD BE SMEARED WITH MEAT!!”
    If, then, St. Francis promoted feasting at CHRISTMAS (I don’t think he would have wasted food & literally smeared walls, but he made the point that this was a time to FEAST with joyful & glorious abandon & NOT FAST), why would he have objected to a beautifully set table with good food at EASTER, as long as a poor beggar who was a hungry stranger would have been made just as welcome as one if the friars & been extended the same hospitality!!

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