“From now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.” Today is the great and glorious Feast of St. Francis of Assisi who was gifted with the stigmata, the actual markings of the passion of Christ. His very name and the city of Assisi are remarkably full of peace. But it was not always like that. Francis had a previous life that was not so saintly but because of a rich conversion, much like that of St. Paul of which we read in our First Reading, God is truly praised by the deep renewal within the human soul and spirit. Assisi, previously at war with Perugia, also encountered a deep change. “Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule and to the Israel of God.”
St. Francis taught and lived the great mystery which is within each and every one of us. We are truly, all of us, walking miracles because of the one who created us and brought us into being. When you truly think about it, change and conversion toward God is more natural and normal than staying the same, especially in a life of sin and selfishness. “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” Yes, this is true. If we just for a single moment each day realize that we are one day closer either to Heaven or Hell, then everything we do and say today will have great and deep repercussions in eternity. This is a gift of peace, not of anxiety. Change is the one constant in the universe, so for us to ask for the grace of ongoing conversion is completely in line with our own destiny and essence. Take some time today and quietly, gently pray the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. Watch what happens:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.