“Are you greater than our father Abraham?” (John 8:53).
Francis wanted to make sure that his brothers understood that any glory they might experience always reflected more on God’s goodness than on any merit of their own.
We…have nothing of our own, except our vices and sins. And so we should be glad when we fall into various trials (James 1:2), and when we suffer anguish of soul or body, or affliction of any kind in this world, for the sake of life eternal. We must all be on our guard against pride and empty boasting and beware of worldly or natural wisdom…. It was about people like this that our Lord said, Amen I say to you, they have received their reward (Matthew 6:2). The spirit of God, on the other hand, inspires us to mortify and despise our lower nature and regard it as a source of shame, worthless and of no value. Humility, patience, perfect simplicity, and true peace of heart are all its aim, but above everything else it desires the fear of God, the divine wisdom and the divine love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
These can be hard words to hear, harder still to do. But this has been the core of the message throughout this holy season of Lent. The Gospel and the Rule of Francis are both utterly simple as read, but profoundly life-changing as lived. They are the source of lifelong conversion, of coming ever closer to our God. One of the last things Francis said to his followers was, “I have done what is mine to do. May the Lord teach you what is yours.”
—from the book Lent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections
by Diane M. Houdek