Through the eyes of St Francis of Assisi
O most high and glorious God, open wide the door that leads me to your love.
This week I find myself thinking about Francis of Assisi. The reason for my musings on Francis is that next week we celebrate our Year 12 Graduation Eucharist, and one of the beautiful pieces of music being prepared for the liturgy is a setting of one of the prayers of St Francis, Perfect Charity. One of the lines in that exquisite and moving prayer is, “Open wide the door that leads me to your love”. Each year at this time of graduation I find the prayer and its music become a wonderful background to whatever I am doing!
As you think of St Francis of Assisi, I’m sure what comes to mind is the image of il poverello, the saint who embraced poverty and is the icon of a life devoted to the poor, the man who was the lover of creation, who spoke of Brother Sun and Sister Moon, and who was the friend of all creatures. From Francis we have that wonderful outpouring of praise of God, The Canticle of the Creatures, in which he praises God through all aspects of creation: Praised be you, my Lord, through all you have made …. Francis is also known for the stigmata, the wounds of Christ that appeared on his hands, feet and sides. He had a great devotion to Christ crucified and preached about this throughout his life. La Verna in Italy is the place where Francis received the stigmata, and if you are ever in that area it is well worth winding up the narrow mountain road to the little monastery up there. Francis is always depicted in his simple brown robe, often with a bird perched on his hand or shoulder and surrounded by animals, and there are also numerous depictions of Francis receiving the stigmata.
Francis is one of those saints that everyone likes and his story and example have inspired people for centuries and continue to do so today and so I’d like to take a moment to look into the heart of Francis, the man who was so profoundly touched by God.
Ms Kerry McCullough
Spirituality and Liturgy Coordinator