March 29. Monday of Holy Week. Bruce again introduced the reflection from the scripture reading of the day.
From the First Song of the Servant of the Lord. “Behold my servant whom I uphold, my chosen in whom my soul delights. He will bring forth justice to the nations. A bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench. The islands wait for his law.” Thus saith God, the Lord who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it. “I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” Is 42:1-7.
From The Little Flowers of St Francis of Assisi. St Francis, one day of the Carnival, was near the Lake of Perugia, in the house of one of his devout followers, with whom he had spent the night, when he was inspired by God to go and pass the time of Lent in an island on the lake. St Francis begged his friend, for the love of God, to convey him in his boat, to an island uninhabited by man, during the night of Ash-Wednesday, so that none might know where he was. The friend, because of the great devotion to St Francis, agreed and conveyed him to the island, St Francis taking with him naught but two small loaves. When they had reached the island, his friend left him; the saint earnestly entreating him to reveal to no one where he was, and not to come and fetch him before Holy Thursday.
St Francis being left alone, and there being no dwelling in the island in which he could take shelter, entered into a thick part of the wood all overgrown with brambles and other creeping plants, and forming a kind of hut, there he began to pray and enter into contemplation of divine things. And there he passed the whole of Lent without drinking or eating save half of one of the small loaves he had taken with him, as we learned from his friend who, going to fetch him on Holy Thursday, found one of the loaves untouched and the other only half consumed. St Francis ate this half out of reverence for our Blessed Lord, who fasted forty days and forty nights without taking any material food; for by eating this bit of bread he put aside the temptation to vainglory, and yet fasted forty days and forty nights. In later times God worked many miracles on the spot where St Francis had fasted so wonderfully.
Reflect, share, pray. How does this story speak to you about St Francis’ devotion to Jesus? How can you respond?