I will be on an ACTS Retreat for the next few days. I will be unable to post any reflection from the 20th till the 22nd. Reflections will continue on the 23rd. Please keep me in your prayers, and I will keep you in my prayers.
Quote of the Day:
God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
The Canticle of the Sun by Francis of Assisi (day 6 of 14):
… Be praised, my Lord [Jesus], through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance. …
Remember in your youth being told “the angels are bowling again” whenever there was thunder in the air, or “the angels are playing with their flashlights” with the lightening. Even though you knew this, and the other weather stories were untrue, you still smiled. I believe now they were words of comfort from your parents, in a child’s short but stressful bit of time.
Wind, air, and other forms of weather are nature’s way of reclaiming itself. I see it also as a way of reclaiming my Christian self. The wind reminds me of the Holy Spirit blowing through me, and me acting through Him. God’s air gave me the breath of life, and at every mass the priest breaths on the Eucharist as a sign of Christ’s life in the body and blood of Christ.
The clouds and storms even remind me of the dark periods in my life. During those dark times, God is reaching out to me through those rays of life streaming through the clouds, and with the rainbow, in all His majestic color.
The full text of “The Canticle of the Sun” can be found at many web sites including: http://www.webster.edu/~barrettb/canticle.htm.
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Franciscan Saint of the Day: St. Agnes of Assisi
When St. Clare received the veil in 1212, she left behind her young sister of 14 named Agnes. In answer to Clare’s prayers and inspired by God, Agnes betook herself to the same convent where Clare was then staying only 16 days after her sister’s departure from home.
Their father, much enraged, hastened to the convent in company with several relatives. He used force to remove her and was in the act of dragging her along by the hair, when Agnes suddenly became fixed to the spot. The united efforts of the entire company were powerless to move her. But he was seized with a violent pain in his arm and the weapon dropped from his hand. Overcome with fear, he and the rest of the band fled from the scene.
Agnes was overjoyed and returned to her sister Clare. St. Francis then led the two maidens to the convent of St. Damian, where he gave the holy habit also to Agnes. She now endeavored to imitate her saintly sister in everything, and devoted all her spare time to prayer and contemplation. She lived a very austere life, partaking only of bread and water, and wearing a coarse garb all her life.
St. Francis soon recognized the rich treasure of virtue hidden in this privileged soul. When a new convent of Poor Clares was to be founded at Florence in 1221, St. Francis sent Agnes, despite her youth, to act as superior there. Later he sent her also to Mantua and to several other cities in northern Italy to establish additional houses of the order. Wherever she went, she edified everybody by her holy life. Many devout young women renounced the world in order to consecrate themselves to God in monastic seclusion under her direction. She had the gift of infusing the Franciscan spirit into them, both by word and example.
She was favored with many extraordinary graces by God. In the great fervor of her devotion she was often raised above the earth, and once our Lord appeared to her in the form of an infant. From Holy Thursday until Holy Saturday she was once so rapt in the contemplation of the sufferings of Christ that she was under the impression she had spent an hour in this mystical state.
When St. Clare was about to die, she sent for Agnes to assist her in her final days. In her last moments Clare addressed her sister in these words, “My beloved sister, it is the will of God that I go, but be comforted, you will soon come and rejoin me with our Lord.” Three months later Agnes followed her sister to eternity. It was on November 16, 1253. Her body rests in Assisi in a side chapel of the church of St. Clare. Numerous miracles occurred at her tomb, and Pope Benedict XIV canonized her.
from: The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, ofm., © 1959 Franciscan Herald Press
(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #18:
Moreover they should respect all creatures, animate and inanimate, which “bear the imprint of the Most High,” and they should strive to move from the temptation of exploiting creation to the Franciscan concept of universal kinship.