The season of Lent has been called, wisely and beautifully, "the springtime of the Church.” This year our ecclesial spring begins on March 1. For Franciscans, it can be - maybe should be - a time of deep and abiding joy. (Remember that “joy” and “happiness” are not the same thing!) After all, it is a chance for closeness with the One who loves us beyond all telling.
For us who follow Christ in the manner of Francis and Clare, there are many things we do NOT have to worry about in Lent. We don’t have to worry about how others observe the season. We don’t have to worry about whether this or that person should receive Communion. We don’t have to worry that serving the poor might harm us in some way.
Our focus need not be on what is wrong with others, the world, or even ourselves. We can make God Himself the focus of our conversion. This is what the little poor man of Assisi realized. Francis kept his focus on God. In the prayers of Francis, many words for God come tumbling out of him all in a rush. Here is the prayer he wrote after visiting the Sultan Malik al
Kamil in 1219. If you pray it slowly, you might feel a new, God - centered way to enter Lent.
The Praises of God
You are the holy Lord God Who does wonderful things.
You are strong. You are great. You are the most high.
You are the almighty king. You holy Father,
King of heaven and earth.
You are three and one,
the Lord God of gods;
You are the good, all good, the highest good,
Lord God living and true.
You are love, charity; You are wisdom, You are humility,
You are patience. You are beauty, You are meekness,
You are security, You are rest, You are gladness and joy,
You are our hope, You are justice, You are moderation,
You are all our riches to sufficiency.
You are beauty, You are meekness, You are the protector,
You are our custodian and defender, You are strength,
You are refreshment, You are our hope,
You are our faith, You are our charity,
You are all our sweetness, You are our eternal life:
Great and wonderful Lord,
What are your words for God?
Secular Franciscan Order
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