Look to the beloved Italian friar who's inspired people to grow closer to God for centuries.
Today is the feast day of the much-loved saint, Francis of Assisi. The Italian Catholic friar, who died in the 13th century, is still venerated so much because his teachings are just as relevant today as they were all those centuries ago. He embodies all the virtues of our faith, and inspires us to follow his example.
And as we honor the founder of the Franciscans today, here are a few ways we can let him inspire us in our day-to-day lives.
Francis gave up his riches to follow God’s path. By embracing poverty he grew closer to Him, and was free to see God at work. While realistically you’re not going to abandon your homes and families to develop a deeper relationship with God, there are other ways to achieve this.
You could take a break from your screens or decide to fast from favorite foods on certain days. You could go without extra treats and give that money to the vulnerable. If you do have extra money, make sure it goes to a worthy cause. Tiny sacrifices that we offer up to God can help us grow closer to Him.
Live the Gospel
In the Testament of St. Francis, the friar revealed: “And after the Lord gave me some brothers, no one showed me what to do; but the Most High revealed to me that I was to live according to the Gospel.”
By living a life of love you are living the Gospel. We know it’s not always easy to love certain people in your life, but if you take time to discover them more — their strengths, as much as their weaknesses — you can grow to understand them, and then love them.
St. Francis was a man of love. He beseeched us all to forgive, to lead sinners closer to God through our constant forgiveness.
While you can honor the friar by going to confession to seek forgiveness for your own sins, you can also be sure to give those who’ve sinned against you an opportunity to be forgiven. It’s not always easy to forgive; it can take years. But if you pray to God to receive the grace to forgive, then that is step in the right direction.
St. Francis was a man of peace and was keen to share its importance, but he wasn’t talking about global peace that many leaders have been trying to find for years. His greeting to all was “Peace and all good,” and the prayer inspired by him speaks of becoming a channel of God’s peace. You can look to be ambassadors of peace through your actions, reactions, and gratitude.
So take the time to be a channel of God’s peace, through prayer, devotion, and service to your families and others in our community.
Protect God’s creation
The friar was known for his love of animals, big and small. He cared and nurtured all of God’s creatures and encouraged us to do the same. It’s not a question of going out and buying a pet, it’s more about appreciating that everything that God created is precious.
You can encourage your children to be worthy stewards of God’s creation. You can help provide vulnerable animals with food and water, or you can place a little birdbox on a tree. You can can also make an effort to care for your environment so all of God’s creatures — celebrated in St. Francis’ beautiful canticle — have a beautiful place to live.
Look for the joy
“The devil is most happy when he can snatch from a servant of God true joy of spirit,” shared St. Francis. So let’s keep the devil at bay by finding the joy that comes with praising God and serving Him.
This can be done in so many ways. You can take the time to consider the joys of following your faith. You can share it with your family and/or friends. You can also think of other ways to live your faith in your everyday life, by finding time for prayer, by honoring God through your work, or parenting.