Hello and welcome to Spend Five with Jesus. This is Wednesday, October 4th, 2023. I am the friar. It is wonderful to have you with us today.
Today is the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, and Saint Francis is really an important figure for Dominicans because we not only refer to Saint Dominic as our Holy Father, obviously our founder, why we’re called Dominicans, but we also refer to to St. Francis as our Holy Father.
And at first you might wonder, well, why is that? What is the reason for that? And I think they were both given a very similar mission at roughly the same time, which was namely to rebuild the church, to really make the church vibrant again. Obviously, responding to the grace of God, obviously it is God who rebuilds his church, Jesus rebuilds his church. But these were the vehicles that God used to rebuild the church.
For Dominic, it was to go forth and proclaim the gospel and to live at the generosity of others. And that’s what we have in common, because that’s what Franciscans do as well. They live at the generosity of others. When the Dominicans were founded, when the Franciscans were founded, they didn’t do work like most monastic communities. They relied on the generosity of people for all of their needs.
There was a fundamental and wonderful and tremendous trust in the people of the day by Franciscans, by Dominicans. Obviously, both have been unbelievably successful. We can look at the way in which the Church is today through the efforts of the Franciscans, who I think many people associate with real works of mercy. They are the ones who are deeply involved in the life of the poor. They are working to change social structures that keep people poor. They are a phenomenal and wonderful and good thing.
At the same time, the Dominicans have been highly successful in helping people to really understand their faith in an intelligent way. I think for Dominicans, the real gift is not only to preach, but to preach in an intelligent way to the world that longs to hear the loving message of Jesus, the loving message of God.
Obviously, living in community is critical to both Franciscans and Dominicans. Living a life of poverty is critical to both Franciscans and Dominicans. And we have the real generosity of Saint Dominic and Saint Francis to thank for this tremendous and wonderful day. Because our way of life is directly related to the generosity of Francis and Dominic to answer the call of God to found these great communities.
So today, think about what God may be asking you to do. The great command of St. Francis was to rebuild his church. And he wasn’t talking just about a single building, although that is true. But to rebuild the church, the body of Christ, which was in terrible, terrible shape at the time of Francis and at the time of Dominic.
I think we’re all called to do that. I think we’re all called to recognize that the church today needs powerful and tremendous rebuilding. And so, today, ask God to help you to understand what it is he wants you to do for the rebuilding of the church, and ask St. Francis for his prayers that you might be successful.
On the friar, you can listen to our homilies (based on the readings of the day) and reflections. You can also ask us to pray for you or to pray for others. You can subscribe to our website to be informed whenever we publish an update.