This year the Feast of All Saints of the Franciscan Family falls on the day of the 800th anniversary of the approval, by Honorius III, of the Order’s Regula Bullata. “His holy sons,” we read in the Seraphic Missal, “of the First, Second and Third Orders, belong to every social condition and to every people. There are martyrs, doctors, priests, religious brothers, lay people, virgins, holy women. An immense multitude gathered around the great Poverello-the poor man, ‘bearing the sign of the living God.”
It is 800 years in which so many women and men have shared and lived Francis’ project, welcoming God without reservations, observing the Gospel in obedience, without anything of their own and in chastity, becoming people capable of loving their neighbour with generosity.
It was a worthy thing that Christ, in the seraphic apparition, imprinted His stigmata, as a seal of confirmation and authenticity, on the sacred flesh of this Poverello, who observed and taught evangelical perfection in the most genuine form, so that, in the dangerous gloom of the end times, we might be offered a clear sign that would illuminate the path of perfection.
It is by conditioning, however, that we learn not to desire what gives honour and prestige, but to prefer humble and hidden things.” By virtue of our baptism, we are all called to holiness, as Pope Francis reminds us in his Apostolic Exhortation “Gaudete et Exsultate.”
In the footsteps of Francis, Clare and all the Franciscan Saints, let us allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in our day and transform everything that seems ordinary, even that which may be discarded, into something extraordinary and precious in the eyes of God and our neighbour.
Happy Feast Day to one and all!