February 20.  The Franciscan way. Everyone in the family groups agreed that thinking more about the theme for the month, “Love gives families life” would contribute to it being a very meaningful Lenten journey. “We’ve certainly had some new insights to take to families at home particularly about St Francis, his way and his teachings. Thanks to you, one and all and Thanks and Praise be to God!”   

“Francis began his pilgrim journey of conversion alone. He was no longer interested in his friends, wealth and a good life. He chose to be detached from any possessions and live as a beggar for some time while physically rebuilding the abandoned church at San Damiano. As his conversion experience deepened Francis became used to praise God the Artist in every one of God’s works. Whatever joy he found he referred to their maker. Everything cried out to him, “He who made us is infinitely good!’ He called animals “brother” or “sister,” and he exhorted them to praise God. He would go through the streets, inviting everyone to sing with him. And one time when he came upon an almond tree, he said, ‘Brother Almond, speak to me of God.” And the almond tree blossomed. He rejoiced in every form of new life. Saint Francis can do this for us once we are caught up in his life and teachings. He makes us blossom, wherever and whoever we are, because we see, in Francis, what could happen to us if we embrace the overflowing goodness of God revealed in everything that exists and so experience God’s joy.

Here are the eight teachings of St. Francis of Assisi.”  From Franciscan Media. (Google for more details of the teachings and read the explanations)  

  1. The Wonder of the Incarnation                                       
  2. Evangelical Poverty
  3. Live the Gospel 
  4. Go and Repair God’s House
  5. Peace.
  6. God’s House Is All of Creation.
  7. The Joy of Humble Praise and Service of God
  8. The Teaching of Teachings: Love.

The highest of all loves is the total love of God leading to true love of neighbor and the true love of neighbor leading to the love of God.  “Let us love the Lord God with all our heart and all our soul, with all our mind and all our strength and with fortitude and with total understanding, with all of our power, with every effort, every affection, every emotion, every desire, and every wish.” — From the Rule of St Francis 1221, Chapter XXIII        
Scripture: If you take away the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire with good things, make your bones strong and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. Is 58: 9-14. Pope Francis. God, who calls us to generous commitment and to give him our all, offers us the light and the strength needed to continue on our way.  In the heart of this world, the Lord of life, who loves us so much is always present.  He does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone, for he has united himself definitively to our earth and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward.  Praise be to him!  LS 245   Reflect, share, act, pray. Explore which of the teachings appeals to you.