An argument arose among the disciples
about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child
and placed it by his side and said to them,
“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
For the one who is least among all of you
is the one who is the greatest.”
Then John said in reply,
“Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name
and we tried to prevent him
because he does not follow in our company.”
Jesus said to him,
“Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”
We had a full day in Assisi. This morning we had a mini-retreat with a talk at a hotel. Then we celebrated Mass in Santa Maria degli Angeli, home of the Portiuncula, the place where St. Francis and his brothers prayed. It was a wonderful celebration and very powerful to be near the place where St. Francis prayed and eventually died. Santa Maria is located in the valley below the mountainside village of Assisi.
Then we went up to the center of Assisi for the rest of the afternoon. We had a nice tour of the Basilica of St. Clare, home of the original crucifix that spoke to St. Francis, “Rebuild my Church.” I always find it special to pray in a place or look upon something that the saints themselves gazed upon. It makes me feel very close to the saints.
We finished our tour with the Basilica of St. Francis. Since it was Sunday we could not talk inside the church, so our guide told us about the church before going in to look. I spent about 90 minutes in prayer in front of the tomb of St. Francis. Several people of our group commented on how important it has been for them to get to know more about these two special saints. It has inspired all of us to strive for holiness and has brought us closer to God.
We finished the day with our last dinner in Assisi as we head to Rome tomorrow morning for the rest of our pilgrimage.
As I reflect upon the lives of St. Francis and St. Clare, I am deeply moved by their humility and desire to live their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Their holy lives continue to affect people in 2015 and will for many centuries in the future. In the same way, may we grow closer to Jesus Christ every day and may our lives echo into the future as well. We may not be remembered by name like these two saints, but hopefully people will come to know Jesus now and in the future because of you.
How attached am I to material things as I reflect on the poverty of these two saints?
How can I make a radical YES to the Lord with my life?
St. Clare and St. Francis, pray for us.