Monday, 31 March 2014

St. Bonaventure on the True St. Francis

''True piety which according to the Apostle is helpful for all things, had so filled Francis' heart and penetrated its depths that it seemed to have appropriated the man of God completely into its dominion. This is what drew him up to God through devotion, transformed him into Christ through compassion, attracted him to his neighbour through condescension and symbolically showed a return to the state of original innocence through universal reconciliation with each and every thing. Through his virtue he was attracted to all things in spiritual love, especially to souls redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. When he saw them being stained by the filth of sin, he grieved with such tender pity that he seemed like a mother who was daily in labour pains bringing them to birth in Christ. This was his principal reason for reverencing the ministers of the word of God, because with their devoted concern for the conversion of sinners they raise up seed for their dead brother, namely Christ, crucified for us, and guide them with their concerned devotion. He firmly held that such work of mercy was more acceptable to the Father of mercies than any sacrifice, especially if this eagerness arose out of perfect charity more by example than by word, more by tear-filled prayer than by long-winged sermons.'' - The Life of Saint Francis

Reflection: The poor friar was a radical lover of God, his whole orientation and being were directed towards and grounded in the mercy of the Lord for the miserable sinner. He grieved over the poor, the innocent, the dejected, the suffering, as he could only envisage the countenance of the Crucified Lord in them. For him, all should tend to God, all should give praise to Him. All belongs to His mercy and goodness. His heart abounded in trust for God Who would bring him and his brothers back to the bosom of His tender goodness. Sin was abhorrent to Francis as it marred the divine likeness in man and could be be an insult of ingratitude to the One Who has offered him so much. 

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