Tuesday, August 24, 2010

True Devotion to Saint Francis

True devotion to Saint Francis must not strive to attain nor merely admire the spirit of the Poverello and his way of life. True devotion to Saint Francis involves loving what the saint loved with his form of love and the purpose of his he love for it.

Historical sources on the life of Saint Francis clearly indicate this preeminent love in the heart of Saint Francis. On the morning of February 24, 1208 A.D. at the Portziuncula, outside Assisi, he declared: ‘This is what I want; this is what I long for with all my heart.’

The Saint said this as a reaction to a passage of scripture that the priest had explained to him at the Mass in honor of Saint Matthias, the Apostle – our Lord sending out the Apostles and establishing the apostolic life of mendicancy.

This form of life was the essential hallmark of the spirituality and religious consecration of the Poor Man of Assisi. This is the key to his life and love of Christ Crucified.

It follows then, that true devotion to Saint Francis necessitates the essential adoption of the evangelical life of mendicancy in all its rigor and simplicity, not because Saint Francis lived it, but because Christ taught it.

Such devotion requires, then, nothing less that a return to and resolute observance of the precepts of the Rule of Saint Francis. This is the form of life that the Saint wanted expressly to hand down to his children as a perpetual inheritance and heritage. This Rule embodies simply and rigorously the principles of the life that Christ taught to the Apostles.

To be a true son of Saint Francis is to be an observer of the Rule. One who finds the essence and form of his life, vocation, and charism, not in the constitutions or statutes or customs and practices of the Franciscan community to which he may belong; but rather, one who finds essence and form of his consecrated life and vocation; indeed of his very identity and destiny in the Rule of Saint Francis, and holds this to be the very day to day discipline that guides his personal life and apostolate.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

True Devotion

The word ‘devotion’ is derived from the Latin verb ‘devovere’, meaning ‘to consecrate’. Devotion is nothing more than fidelity and resoluteness in the following of Christ after an admirable example.

The devoted follower is one who has consecrated his entire life to discipleship. While a devotee of a saint is often associated with one who invokes his patron saint in his daily prayers and frequents celebrations, churches, and chapels in the saint's honor, the devoted follower, the devoted disciple, is someone much more. For him, the imitation of the saint is the fundamental character of his existence, the foundation of his identity and the key to his personal destiny in Christ.

One can imitate a saint by incorporating the saint’s behavior, ideals, habits, customs, and virtues into his life. However, this form of devotion moves only on the material level. True devotion to a Saint requires a formal union of heart and mind with the Saint. There is no greater imitation than for the disciple to become one with his teacher. Our Lord Jesus Christ taught this kind of devotion when He said of His own disciples, ‘No disciple is greater than his Master; a disciple should rejoice to be like his Master.’

True devotion then, to a Saint must transcend material devotion. For such a devotion fails to incorporate the truth in Christ that the Saints are means not ends to imitation of Christ Jesus, the One Teacher of all. To truly imitate a Saint then, is to make the desire, wisdom, and resoluteness that was his to follow and imitate Christ, one's own. In such a manner, devotion to a Saint is transfigured into authentic Christian life and perfection.

Related Posts with Thumbnails