The Praying Francis

"My God and My All"

(part 6)

     
   
In the beginning of the Franciscan Order there was Francis, newly converted to Christ.   And there was Bernard of Quintavalle, one of the wealthiest noblemen of 13th century Assisi .

     Intrigued as many of his fellow townsfolk were by the novelty of Francis’ turning to God, Bernard was even more impressed by the serenity and the sweetness with which Francis accepted the jeers and reproaches of those who had not yet caught a glimpse of his Gospel vision.

     And so this rich young man invited the “herald of the Great King” to his home one evening.  After supper and a prolonged conversation on the things of God, Bernard pressed his visitor to stay the night, preparing a place for him in his own room.   Francis threw himself on the bed, pretending to sleep.   Bernard did the same.  As the night wore on, Bernard was amazed to hear his guest, kneeling now in the flickering lamplight, repeating again and again the pressing prayerful cry:

My God and My All!

The fervor and trueness of this prayer inspired Bernard of Quintavalle

and tens of thousands after him to leave all things

and embark on the great Gospel journey of love and self-giving,

led by him whom we now know as St. Francis of Assisi .

My God and My All!

The hallmark of St. Francis’ life – the escutcheon of his Order.

The spiritual insignia of all who follow his Gospel form of life

as priests, brothers, sisters, dedicated laity.

My God and My All!

A few simple words, yet limitless food for the spirit.

This prayer changed the life of the Little Poor Man of Assisi.

How he hopes we will let it change ours!

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