A joyous and blessed Feast of our Seraphic father, Saint Francis of Assisi, to each of you!
This is a day of great joy for me and for so very many people throughout the world. I have always felt very close to this little poor man and have had the tremendous honor to visit his tomb three times (and I hope to make my annual retreat there as well).
It was, of course, Francis who taught us to embrace the Cross and there to find true and perfect joy. Lasting and authentic joy, he teaches us, cannot be found anywhere else.
Let us ask Francesco to lead us to the Cross and to love as Christ himself loves. Francis will never cease to lead us in this endeavor.
On a side note for the day, when I walked into the parish church this morning (St. Anthony of Padua) I was delighted to find a large bouquet before the altar. There was a card in the flowers: "In honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, from grateful parishioners." I think I know the donors, but I cannot be certain. A very big "thank you!" to the kind and loving souls.
On another side note, to celebrate this great day, I'm bringing goodies of donuts, muffins, and cake into my three classes at the high school today. I hope you celebrate Francis, too.
Now, a prayer for the day (from the Mass):
you helped St. Francis to reflect the image of Christ
through a life of poverty and humility.
May we follow your Son
by walking in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi,
and by imitating his joyful love.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.