ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI, REL. (Memorial) White
Francis was the son of a rich cloth merchant who led a misspent youth. When he served as a soldier, he was imprisoned and got converted. Upon release from prison, he dressed in rough clothes and begged for his sustenance. He visited hospitals, served the sick, preached purity and peace. He founded the Franciscans and together with Clare of Assisi founded the Poor Clares in 1212. Francis composed songs and hymns to God and nature, cared for lepers, and sent food to thieves. While in meditation on Mount Alvernia in the Apennines in September 1224, Francis received the stigmata, which periodically bled during the remaining two years of his life.
First Reading: Gal 1:13-24; Psalm: 139. R. v. 24b; Gospel: Lk 10:38-42
THE GRACIOUSNESS OF GOD
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
Listening to Paul recount on his past, it appears or sounds as if he was proud of all he did. But this is not true. Paul’s recount on his past was rather a way of showing how God radically changed his life and why the Galatian Christians should believe the gospel he preached. Paul reminded the Galatian Church of his zeal and commitment in pursuing the course of Judaism; and that he advanced this course even more than the people of his own age. But then God changed his story and called him to minister to the Gentiles.
Paul tried to convince his audience that the gospel he preached was no human invention but came directly from God; for it was only God who could turn his life around from a persecutor of Christians to the defender of the faith. Paul recognised where he was coming from. He was conscious of his past and of him who caused this transformation in his life; a change that caused surprises in Judea that the people had to glorify God for what happened to him.
It is a beautiful thing that Paul was not afraid or ashamed to recount of his past. In fact, the consciousness of this is a way of revealing God’s power over his foolishness and weaknesses. Sometimes it is good we look back to see how God has been gracious to us despite our foolishness and sinfulness. It is often the case that we complain over our current situations and fail to remember where we are coming from. If only we can look back to see our pasts, the sins we committed, the mistakes we made, the crimes and all the abominable things we did and got away with it; maybe then we can begin to see how gracious and merciful God has been to us and why we shouldn’t waste those graced opportunities to repent.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, open our eyes to see how gracious you have been to us and help us to return to you. Amen.