Dear Friends,

May the Lord give you peace on this most beautiful of Feasts!  Symbolism is so powerful as we’ve all witnessed since the election of Pope Francis to the throne of Peter.   In the past couple of weeks we’ve learned so much about humility, service, being with the marginalised, even by the gestures and movements of our new Holy Father.  

It appears to me that our new Pope Francis is very familiar with the life and symbolic gestrues of the little poor man and the Founder of the Franciscan Order, St. Francis of Assisi.   The following story taken from ‘The Rememberance of the Desire of a Soul’ by Thomas of Celano, the first person to write a life of our holy founder might illustrate this point:“On a certain Easter Day the brothers in the hermitage of Greccio set the table more carefully than usual, with white cloths and glassware.   The Father came down from his cell and went to the table.   He saw that it was elevated and elaborately decorated, but he did not smile at all at that smiling table.   He secretly tiptoed away, put on his head the hat of a poor man who was there at the time, and with a staff in hand, went outside.   He waited outside at the door, until the brothers had started eating.   They were accustomed not to wait for him when he did not come at the usual signal.

As they began to eat, that true poor man cried out at the door: “For the love of the Lord God, give alms to this poor, sick pilgrim!”   And the brothers replied:  “Come in, man, for the love of Him you invoked.”   He quickly came in, and showed himself to those dining.   You can imagine the surprise the pilgrim provoke in those home-bodies!   The beggar was given a bowl and, sitting on the ground by himself, placed his dish on the ashes.   “Now,” he said, “I am sitting like a Lesser Brother!”   And he said to the brothers:  “The examples of the Son of God’s poverty should move us more than other religious.  I saw here a table all prepared and decorated, and recognized it as not the table of poor men who go door to door.”

Have a happy and joyful Easter and pay attention to the symbolic gestures of our Holy Father Francis.

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