Devotional

Fr. Rob Lupo - Pastor

St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish

Baileyville, Calais, Eastport, Pembroke, Pleasant Point, Peter Dana Point - 207-454-0680

October opens with the Feast of St. Francis on October 4th.  Francis is arguably the most popular saint in the Catholic Church and his popularity reaches across all denominational lines.    It got me to wondering how is it that a man who lived and died in the 12th & 13th centuries is able to still inspire, and affect the world nearly 800 years after his death?  Well, Francis had an inordinate affect on the world during his life.  This young man, a son of a wealthy silk merchant, began his life as you might expect from his background.  He was a typical wealthy young man of the time, even fighting for Assisi in one of the regional conflicts common at the time.  After he returned from being a prisoner his life began to change.  After receiving a vision of Christ who asked him to “rebuild my church” Francis embraced a life of poverty; renouncing all that he had received from his father.  He lived as a penitent and a beggar.  After several years Francis had 11 followers who had also given up everything and traveled and preached repentance.  The group traveled to Rome and managed to get Pope Innocent III’s blessing and ultimately were recognized as a new order by the Church.  Amazingly this took place in just 5-6 years.  By the time of his death in 1226 the Franciscan Order was firmly established in several countries.  He was canonized just 2 years after his death in 1228.

Francis’ life is a testament to the fact that one person can have a tremendous effect on the world at large.  Perhaps that is part of his charm and popularity.  He reminds us that, as Jesus told us, all things are possible for God.  Francis preached that nature itself was the mirror of God.  He referred to his fellow creatures as “brothers” and “sisters” recognizing our connectedness as creations of a loving God.  He not only resolutely aligned himself with the poor, but he also taught that as creatures of God we are called to protect and enjoy God’s creation.  We have a responsibility to be good stewards of the gifts God has given us, one of the most important being this world that we live on.  I think that St. Francis would feel at home here in Washington County.  The natural beauty all around us would speak to him of God’s love and care, indeed as it should speak to us as well.   As this beautiful season continues for us and we see the world around us prepare for the winter as we do ourselves, may we be reminded of St. Francis, of his love for the poor, for our fellow creatures, and, especially for God, that led him to dedicate his life to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the World Day of Peace, January 1, 1990 had this to say about Francis, “The poor man of Assisi gives us striking witness that when we are at peace with God we are better able to devote ourselves to building up that peace with all creation which is inseparable from peace among all peoples.”  Perhaps our own innate desire for peace in our hearts and our homes and our world is what contributes to the ongoing popularity of this humble man.  Francis reminds us that we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord and he inspires us to live out of that knowledge.  Again, I want quote Pope John Paul II, “It is my hope that the inspiration of Saint Francis will help us to keep ever alive a sense of 'fraternity' with all those good and beautiful things which Almighty God has created."