Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saint Francis on honoring the Lord in the Eucharist: " ... buy beautiful chalices and beautiful vessels for the altar"

The great St. Francis of Assisi, (1182-1226), divided the world into different parts so that his Franciscan monks would be able to work in certain areas.  He reserved for himself the city of Paris, because he said, "In that country the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar is more honoured, than in any other place in the world".

The heart and soul of St. Francis was on fire with love for the most Blessed Sacrament.  He preached, “My people, it is your duty to give all you can, to buy beautiful chalices and beautiful vessels for the altar"  From then on, people have made an effort to have chalices and other altar vessels, made of gold and silver, wherever it was possible.

But greater than his love for the precious vessels, was his concern about the living tabernacles of men.  He encouraged his Third Order Franciscans to receive Holy Communion often, and not just once a year.  Although St. Francis was not a priest, he heard Mass every day and if he was sick he assisted at the Mass in a spiritual way.  Every time he received the Blessed Sacrament he went into ecstasy.

He used to say, "We religious bear the weight of the great sin and ignorance that certain ones have in regard to the Most Sacred Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and to His Most Holy Name.  If the Blessed Virgin Mary was honoured because she carried in her womb the very Son of God…  If Blessed John the Baptist trembled and dared not touch the head of Christ…  If the sepulcher which Jesus occupied is venerated; then it is just that he should be holy who touches with his hands, who receives with his lips and heart the immortal and glorious Body of Christ."

He would encourage the people, "With humility and charity I beg you dear people to use all the reverence and honour possible toward the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, where Christ dwells in the midst of sinful men."

Image: Berto di Giovanni di Marco, "Saint Francis of Assisi", Walters

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