Franciscan Sisters Celebrate Assisi Gift

Sister Kathleen had the privilege of going on Pilgrimage to Assisi this past summer. While there she found a most beautiful art piece with the right price. Her excitement bubbled over this summer when she arrived back at the Motherhouse where she shared the piece with some of the Sisters. For some of us here at St. Francis it remained a surprise. but what was the best way to unveil the picture and give it it’s due respect? That would  be by way of a prayer service, which Sister Kathleen soon put together. Everything was in readiness as we gathered in chapel.

St Francis emphasized these three devotions: the crib in which the infant Jesus was laid, the cross on which Jesus died, and the ciborium or the Eucharist wherein Francis most clearly saw the humility and poverty of the Incarnation.

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Sister Kathleen played the keyboard as we sang a hymn between each selection.

The cross makes visible the very reason why Jesus came into the world. “He was known to be of human estate, obediently accepting even death: death on a cross”. In the cross Francis saw the ultimate sign of the humility and poverty of God. This was followed by the singing a verse of “Glory in the Cross”

Francis saw the Eucharist as the extension of the Incarnation into our daily lives. In his Letter to the Entire Order he sings out: “Let the heavens exult when Christ, the Son of the Living God, is present on the altar in the hands of a priest! O wonderful loftiness and stupendous dignity! The Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles himself that for our salvation he hides himself under an ordinary piece of bread! Look at the humility of God, and pour out your hearts before him! Humble yourselves that you may be exalted by him! Hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves, That he who gives himself totally to you may receive you totally!” We responded by singing in English a verse of “Panis Angelicus”

And lastly, Mary in her “yes” to God, became the gate through which salvation entered the world. “Be it done to me according to your word”, Mary said. In that crib lies the Son of the God who “so loved the world that he sent His only Son.” “He emptied himself and took the form of a slave, being born  in the likeness of men”. In Greccio, Francis celebrated the Crib, the Lord’s birth and made the ultimate link between creation and Incarnation visible. Celano recounts, “The night is lit up like the day, delighting both man and beasts….The  forest amplifies the cries and the boulders echo back the joyful crown….The whole night abounds with jubilation.” For here in humility and poverty heaven touches earth in a baby, a baby who is God, who is Love Incarnate.   The hymn? “Infant Holy Infant Lowly” was then sung.

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The moment of the unveiling of the long anticipated surprise had come!

 

It was only fitting that we all give a simple blessing before Sister Kathleen had the joyous blessing of placing this special picture in our chapel. Now we have present in our small chapel the representation of “the crib”, tying together the three devotions of St. Francis; “the crib, the cross and the ciborium or the Eucharist.

The question remains for some of us; is it Mary and St. Joseph, or is it Mary and St. Francis, or is it St. Clare and St. Francis? This remains for us to ponder, but what is our focus is the central figure; Jesus.

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Another perfect setting for a group picture!

Comments

  1. Kelly Christine says:

    Beautiful picture, and beautiful people. May Francis richly bless and Guide you in the way of Jesus.

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