May the Lord give you peace! This is the church of San Damiano situated a short distance from the town of Assisi. It’s in a beautiful setting and as one walks through the fields and olive groves one cannot but reflect on a walk that St Francis must have taken on a very regular basis, probably daily, at the beginning of his conversion. This is now the novitiate house for the Assisi Province of the OFM Franciscans. It was in this place, then a dilapidated little chapel, that Francis knelt and prayed before a Byzantine Crucifix now known as the San Damiano Cross. This cross is presently venerated in the Basilica of Saint Clare in the town centre.
Whilst in prayer before this crucifix Francis heard these words: “Go and repair my Church which is falling to ruin.” It was this that started him on his life’s mission in 1205.
Perhaps you are reading this now and considering your life’s mission. Maybe it’s this blog in 2012 that is speaking to you – maybe it is saying to you – John, Michael, Sean, Pat, Brian (whatever your name is): “Go and repair my Church which is falling to ruin.”
The following was a favourite prayer of St. Francis and one he is alleged to have prayed before this crucifix: Perhaps you can now pray it with St. Francis – “Most high glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity, sense and knowledge, Lord that I may carry out Your holy and true command.”
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I look forward to hearing from you.