Holiness in Everyday Life

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Holiness in Everyday Life

CHRIST:

MY CHILD, at times you hear people say that they are too busy to bother with religion. People who say such things do not understand Me, nor themselves, nor their daily life. They do not realize that religion is as necessary an activity as eating, sleeping and working.

2. I am far more than the air you breathe, the food you eat, and the rest which brings you renewed strength. All of these things, and everything else, come to you- from My hand. Without My loving support each moment, these things would fail you, and you yourself would vanish from the face of the earth.

3. I am the center of your existence. You depend on Me more than you dream. just as you give due attention to the people who come into your daily life, so too is it normal for you to give due attention to Me. To speak to Me, to try to please Me, to ask for My help, to express sorrow for your offenses, and to love Me for My goodness-these are normal acts for any intelligent human being. The more I show Myself to him, the more should he strive to please Me in his everyday life.

4. Religion is the bond which unites you to Me. To neglect it is as foolish as refusing to breathe, or eat, or rest. In fact, it is worse. These other things keep your body alive, but religion is necessary for the eternal life of your soul.

5. The man who neglects this part of his life is abnormal, that is, he is not what he ought to be. He is neglecting something which is natural and normal for him, something which perfects him more than he realizes.

6. There is no real opposition between laboring for your earthly needs, and laboring for Heaven. You have to work each day, but this work can be a glorious prayer. You must eat, work, sleep, and have recreation, but all of these can become holy actions, actions done for eternal life.

7. Whatever you do, do it as I want it done, and you will be doing it as perfectly as possible. Be reasonable in whatever you do, or say, or think. Refuse to violate My commandments, regardless of any earthly advantage or disadvantage. I made the things of this life for you, so that you may perfect yourself by using them intelligently. Let My words and example guide you in whatever you do. In doubt consult My Church. Do this and you will be working for success on earth and an all-satisfying glory in Heaven.

THINK:

Once I get a full view of this earthly life, I will see how all-important a part God plays in it. Instead of living for the moment or for the next few years, I’ll live for my highest and most important goal. I will see the unending importance of what I am doing today, I will understand how each act of this day helps me become a little more perfect, a little more ready for Heaven. Only sin is foolish. Only sin is bad. All else is good and pleasing to God, because it helps me in one way or another.

PRAY:

My Father in Heaven, I desire to make the best use of this earthly life of mine. I want to live as full a life as possible. Therefore, in everything I think, do, or say, I want You to be my Partner. Since You support me in all my thinking, speaking and acting, I want to please You in them. By living this way, I will be following Your wisdom and my own highest good. I now join this daily life of mine to the earthly life of Jesus, Your divine Son. With His example and with the strength of His holy sacraments, I hope to please You every moment. Thus, my daily life will be my best preparation for eternal life. Amen.

Saint Francis of Assisi

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Saint Francis of Assisi

Founder of the Franciscan Orders
(1182-1226)

Saint Francis, the son of a merchant of Assisi, was born in the year 1182 in a poor stable, his birth already prophesying the Saint who would preach poverty to a world seduced by luxury. Though chosen by God to be for the world a living manifestation of Christ’s poor and suffering life on earth, in his youth he was generous, always of equal humor, and much appreciated by his friends; he was fond of splendors, fine clothing, and good company, and easily won the affection of all who knew him. More than once various holy persons foretold for him a future of glory, but in veiled terms. Francis did not understand these predictions, and supposed he would become the leader of a large militia.

The military life he had adopted ended when Jesus told him he was destined to fight another kind of combat, one against the demon and sin; that the grandeurs predicted were spiritual, not temporal — and to return home. He became inspired with a great esteem for poverty and humiliation. The thought of the Man of Sorrows, who had nowhere to lay His head, filled him with holy envy of the poor, and constrained him to renounce the wealth and the worldly station which he had come to abhor. One day, while on horseback, he met a leper begging alms who inspired him with repugnance, and he took a path to avoid him. Then, repenting, he turned his horse around and returned to embrace him and give him a generous alms, as was his custom for all beggars. He continued on his way, but looked back, and nowhere on the plain could the stranger be seen, though there were no trees, no refuges anywhere. He was from that day a completely transformed person.

He decided to use his wealth to care for the poor and the sick, and dedicate himself in person to the same works. When he prayed one day in the little chapel to do only what God willed of him, the Saviour spoke again to him, repeating three times the mysterious words: Go, Francis, and repair My house which is falling into ruin. He then undertook to repair the old church of San Damiano where he had heard these words, retiring for refuge to a grotto. He was regarded as a fool by the people, when he returned to the city in the clothing of a poor beggar. This was indeed the folly of the Cross.

Francis renounced his heritage definitively, to beg thereafter his daily sustenance and what he needed for the repair of the church, and left the city singing the praises of God. He repaired two other churches. The love of God which was burning brightly in the poor man of Assisi began to give light and warmth to many others also, and it was not long before several came to join him. One of them was a very wealthy man of Assisi, the second a Canon of the Assisi cathedral, and the third the now Blessed Brother Gilles. They adopted the absolute poverty of Francis, and the foundations of the Franciscan Order were laid. They were first called the penitents of Assisi. No counsels could make Francis change his resolution to possess nothing at all. God revealed to him then that he was to found a religious Order.

Pope Innocent III, when Francis with his first twelve companions journeyed to Rome, after first rebuffing them, recognized him as the monk God showed him in a vision, supporting on his shoulders the Church of Saint John Latran, which was growing decrepit. He received the profession of Francis and his twelve companions, and in 1215 they were formally constituted as a religious Order, which then spread rapidly throughout Christendom.

In 1216, Saint Francis after assembling his religious, sent them out to preach in France, Spain, England and Germany, where they established monasteries, lasting proofs of the efficacy of their missions. A second general Chapter was held in 1219 on the feast of Pentecost, and the little Brothers gathered from all over the world at Saint Mary of the Angels, the church which Francis and his first twelve disciples had received only nine years earlier. Cabins of reeds and tents were put up all over the countryside. The Cardinal who visited them exclaimed, with tears in his eyes, O Brother, truly this is the camp of the Lord! They were more than 5,000 in number. Saint Francis exhorted his brethren: My Brothers, above all, let us love the Holy Church; let us pray for her exaltation, and never abandon poverty. Is it not written, Trust in the Lord, and He Himself will sustain you’?

Francis, after visiting the Orient in a vain quest for martyrdom, spent his life like his Divine Master — now in preaching to the multitudes, now amid the desert solitudes in fasting and contemplation. His constant prayer was My God and my All! During one of these retreats on Mount Alverno, he received on his hands, feet, and side the imprints of the five wounds of Jesus. With the cry, Welcome, sister Death! he passed to the glory of his God, October 4, 1226, at the age of 44 years.

Reflection: The prayer of Saint Francis, My God and my All! explains both his poverty and his wealth.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 12; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).