Dear Brothers and Sisters:
This year, the feast of Saint Francis occurred on a Sunday (October 4), so we were not able to observe it as its own day. However, no saint’s example is restricted to a single day per year. Hence, I offer the following excerpt from a larger online article by Monsignor Charles Pope that appears on the website, www.spiritualdirection.com.
During St. Francis’ lifetime the Church was in need of reform. Greed, worldliness, and scandal were problems among both the clergy and laity. Heresies were abundant. Some, noting sin in the Church, chose to hate the Church and leave her. Others, like Francis, heard the call of God, who never ceases to love His Church; they intensified their love for the Church and worked for her reform. In a vision, St. Francis sensed this call from God: “Francis, repair my Church.” Gradually he deepened his understanding of the Lord’s call and began that reform by seeing first to his own life.
It is possible for critics of the Church to decry the sins of others yet not see their own. Francis began in the vineyard of his own life and then went forth, gently preaching conversion to his neighbors through personal example. The movement for reform spread…
True reform begins with us. Simply denouncing the sins of others or of the Church, real though they may be, seldom has lasting effect. The best reform starts with personal conversion. Personal conversion spreads to others and then reform is underway. It works. If we allow God to set us on fire, then we can spread that fire.
From my perspective, there are many “wildfires” burning--apparently out of control--right now in our nation. This time, I am not speaking of the physical fires out West. I mean the forces of evil are working overtime to wreak havoc in the minds and hearts of human beings. The war between good and evil is real, and it is intense.
However, the Fire of the Holy Spirit is far more powerful. The Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that “The Holy Spirit will come upon you…” (Luke 1:35). During this month of the rosary, we can ask Mary to give us courage to invoke the Holy Spirit daily in our lives. As Saint Jose` Maria Escriva` stated:
The holy rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you will be amazed at the results.
In one week’s time, 19 young men and women from our parish will receive the power of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. Their names will be carried in next week’s bulletin. We do not have to wait until then to be praying for them. We each need to pray fervently that the Holy Spirit will enflame our hearts with love, with truth, with virtue.
Peace and Mercy,
For quick access to the entire bulletin for this weekend ONLINE, just click on the link below: