04 Oct It is on the path of humility that we rejoice in minority, holiness, and poverty | Homily on the Solemnity of Saint Francis of Assisi
Vicar General’s homily for the Solemnity of St. Francis of Assisi
This is a day of rejoicing because “it has pleased the Father” (Mt 11:26) that by His grace alone heaven should descend to the chapel of the Portiuncula, so that His graces may be communicated to all. Here today, in this little portion of heaven on earth, God still gives us the joy of celebrating the holiness of the Poverello of Assisi, the forma minorum — that is, life lived according to the holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, lived in fraternity, as minors, and as pilgrims and strangers.
This is a day of rejoicing for minority: Jesus cries out in admiration and amazement because God has chosen to reveal Himself to the little ones, to the humble, to the simple, to the poor, to minors. Thus revealing Himself to Mary, to Joseph her Spouse, to Francis of Assisi, to Saint Clare, to us, to all the poor and excluded of this world.
This is a day of rejoicing for the path of holiness: today’s liturgy exalts our brother Francis as an image of Christ, the way of the Gospel, a living flame of love and apostolic fervour.
This is a day of rejoicing in the path of poverty. Truly our world longs for and needs the captivating holiness of Francis, a man of poverty. Yes, our society and our Church — therefore each one of us — needs the Saint of Assisi and the Franciscan charism.
It is on the path of humility that we rejoice in minority, holiness, and poverty. This is a path that leads us to show respect and love to every poor person, to every wretched person. In this too, Francis is our teacher: “whenever you see a poor brother (or a poor sister), the mirror of the Lord and his poor Mother is put before you” (2Cel 85). Or as he writes in the Earlier Rule: “Let all the brothers strive to follow the humility and poverty of our Lord Jesus Christ …. and they must rejoice when they live among people considered of little value and looked down upon, among the poor and the powerless” (ER IX, 1 -2).
To us, heirs of the gift of St. Francis to the Church and to the world, an invitation is addressed to live the path of holiness as lesser brothers and sisters, humble among the humble. To walk this path we must put the primacy of God in Christ at the center of our ecclesial and personal life, preserving the contemplative gaze of Saint Francis towards creatures, in order to truly recognize that they “bear a likeness of You, Most High One” (Canticle, 4).
St. Mary of the Angels, The Portiuncula, October 4th, 2019
Br. Julio Cesar Bunader, OFM