OREMUS: 4 October 2005

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Oct 3 20:50:11 GMT 2005

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OREMUS for Tuesday, October 4 , 2005 
Francis of Assisi, Friar, Deacon, Founder of the Friars Minor, 1226

O Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Blessed are you, God of bountiful mercies,
for in your Son you have promised a hundredfold reward
to those who leave everything to follow you.
We rejoice in the example of your servant Francis
who found the source of joy and strength
in the simplicity of loving you with all his heart.
For these and all your mercies, we praise you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 


Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God,*
 and the firmament shows his handiwork.
One day tells its tale to another,*
 and one night imparts knowledge to another.
Although they have no words or language,*
 and their voices are not heard,
Their sound has gone out into all lands,*
 and their message to the ends of the world.
In the deep has he set a pavilion for the sun;*
 it comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber;
   it rejoices like a champion to run its course.
It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens
   and runs about to the end of it again;*
 nothing is hidden from its burning heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect
   and revives the soul;*
 the testimony of the Lord is sure
   and gives wisdom to the innocent.
The statutes of the Lord are just
   and rejoice the heart;*
 the commandment of the Lord is clear
   and gives light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean
   and endures for ever;*
 the judgements of the Lord are true
   and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
   more than much fine gold,*
 sweeter far than honey,
   than honey in the comb.
By them also is your servant enlightened,*
 and in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can tell how often he offends?*
 Cleanse me from my secret faults.
Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins;
   let them not get dominion over me;*
 then shall I be whole and sound,
   and innocent of a great offence.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
   be acceptable in your sight,*
 O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

A Song of Faith (1 Peter 1.3-4,18-21)

Blessed be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ!

By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading,
kept in heaven for you.

Who are being protected by the power of God
through faith for a salvation,
ready to be revealed in the last time.

You were ransomed from the futile ways of your ancestors
not with perishable things like silver or gold

But with the precious blood of Christ
like that of a lamb without spot or stain.

Through him you have confidence in God,
who raised him from the dead and gave him glory,
so that your faith and hope are set on God.

Psalm 146

   Praise the Lord, O my soul!*
 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
   I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in rulers,
   nor in any child of earth,*
 for there is no help in them.
When they breathe their last, they return to earth,*
 and in that day their thoughts perish.
Happy are they who have the God of Jacob
   for their help!*
 whose hope is in the Lord their God;
Who made heaven and earth, the seas,
   and all that is in them;*
 who keeps his promise for ever;
Who gives justice to those who are oppressed,*
 and food to those who hunger.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
   the Lord opens the eyes of the blind;*
 the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous;
   the Lord cares for the stranger;*
 he sustains the orphan and widow,
   but frustrates the way of the wicked.
The Lord shall reign for ever,*
 your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.

READING [Isaiah 55]:

Everyone who thirsts,
   come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
   come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
   and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
   and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
   listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
   my steadfast, sure love for David.
See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
   a leader and commander for the peoples.
See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
   and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel,
   for he has glorified you.

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
   call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake their way,
   and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them,
   and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
   and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
   giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
   it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
   and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

For you shall go out in joy,
   and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
   shall burst into song,
   and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
   instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the LORD for a memorial,
   for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

For another Biblical reading,
Matthew 10:5-22

Words: William H. Draper (1855-1933);
paraphrase of "Canticle of the Sun" by Francis of Assisi.
Tune: Lasst uns erfreuen
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All creatures of our God and King,
lift up your voices, let us sing:
Alleluia, alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beams,
thou silver moon that gently gleams,
O praise him, O praise him,
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
ye clouds that sail in heaven along,
O praise him, Alleluia!
Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice,
ye lights of evening, find a voice, (R)

Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
make music for thy Lord to hear,
Alleluia, alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
that givest man both warmth and light, (R)

Dear mother earth, who day by day
unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise him, Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
let them his glory also show: (R)

And all ye men of tender heart,
forgiving others, take your part,
O sing ye Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
praise God and on him cast your care: (R)

And thou, most kind and gentle death,
waiting to hush our latest breath,
O praise him, Alleluia!
Thou leadest home the child of God,
and Christ our Lord the way hath trod: (R)

Let all things their Creator bless,
and worship him in humbleness,
O praise him, Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
and praise the Spirit, Three in One: (R)

The Benedictus (Morning), the 
Magnificat (Evening), or 
Nunc dimittis (Night) may follow.

Francis' Paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer :
Our Father
Creator, Redeemer, Saviour and Comforter.

In heaven
In the angels and the saints.
You give them light so that they may have knowledge,
because you are light.
You inflame them so that they may love,
because you are love.
You live continually in them
so that they may be happy,
because you are the supreme good,
the eternal good,
and it is from you all good comes
and without you there is no good.

Hallowed be your name
May our knowledge of you become ever clearer,
so that we may realise the breadth of your blessings,
the extent of your promises,
the height of your majesty
and the depth of your judgements.

Your kingdom come
So that you may reign in us by your grace
and bring us to your kingdom,
where we shall see you clearly, love you perfectly,
be happy in your company
and enjoy you for ever.

Your will be done, on earth as in heaven
That we may love you with our whole heart
by always thinking of you;
with our whole mind by directing our whole intention towards you
and seeking your glory in everything;
and with all our strength
by spending all our energies and affections of soul and body
in the service of your love alone. 
And may we love our neighbour as ourselves,
encouraging them all to love you as best we can,
rejoicing at the good fortune of others,
just as if it were our own,
and sympathising with their misfortunes,
while giving offence to no one.

Give us today our daily bread
Your own beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
to remind us of the love he showed for us
and to help us to understand and appreciate it
and everything that he did or said or suffered.

And forgive us our sins
In your infinite mercy,
and by the power of the passion of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
together with the merits and the intercession
of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints.

As we forgive those who sin against us
And if we do not forgive perfectly,
make us forgive perfectly,
so that we may truly love our enemies for love of you
and pray fervently to you for them,
returning no one evil for evil,
anxious only to serve everybody in you.

Lead us not into temptation
Hidden or obvious, sudden or unforeseen.

But deliver us from evil
Present, past or future.  Amen.

O God, you ever delight to reveal yourself
to the child-like and lowly of heart
grant that, following the example of the blessed Francis,
we may count the wisdom of this world as foolishness
and know only Jesus Christ and him crucified,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

May the power of your love, Lord Christ,
fiery and sweet as honey,
so absorb our hearts
as to withdraw them from all that is under heaven.
Grant that we may be ready
   to die for love of your love,
as you died for love of our love.  Amen.

The psalms and the invitation to the Lord's Prayer are from _Celebrating
Common Prayer_ (Mowbray), (c) The Society of Saint Francis
1992, which is used with permission.

The canticle is from _Common Worship: Daily Prayer, Preliminary
Edition_, copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The biblical passage is from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized
Edition), copyright (c) 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education
of  the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by
permission. All rights reserved.

The opening prayer of thanksgiving is adapted by Stephen Benner from
_We Give You Thanks and Praise: The Ambrosian Eucharistic
Prefaces_, translated by Alan Griffiths, (c) The Canterbury Press
Norwich, 1999.

The collect is from _Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the
Church of England_, material from which is included in this service is
copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2000.

The closing sentence and the intercession are by Francis of Assisi.

Francis was born in 1182, the son of a wealthy cloth merchant. His early years
were frivolous, but an experience of sickness and another of military service
were instrumental in leading him to reflect on the purpose of life. One day, in
the church of San Damiano, he seemed to hear Christ saying to him, "Francis,
repair my falling house." He took the words literally, and sold a bale of silk
from his father's warehouse to pay for repairs to the church of San Damiano.
His father was outraged, and there was a public confrontation at which his
father disinherited and disowned him, and he in turn renounced his father's
wealth--one account says that he not only handed his father his purse, but also
took off his expensive clothes, laid them at his father's feet, and walked away
naked. He declared himself "wedded to Lady Poverty", renounced all material
possessions, and devoted himself to serving the poor. In his day the most
dreaded of all diseases was something known as leprosy. (It is probably not the
same as either the modern or the Biblical disease of that name.) Lepers were
kept at a distance and regarded with fear and disgust. Francis cared for them,
fed them, bathed their sores, and kissed them. Since he could not pay for
repairs to the Church of San Damiano, he undertook to repair it by his own
labors. He moved in with the priest, and begged stones lying useless in fields,
shaping them for use in repairing the church. He got his meals, not by asking
for money so that he might live at the expense of others, but by scrounging
crusts and discarded vegetable from trash-bins, and by working as a day
laborer, insisting on being paid in bread, milk, eggs, or vegetables rather than in
money. Soon a few companions joined him. Dante in his Paradiso has Aquinas
say of him:
Let me tell you of a youth whose aristocratic father disowned him because of
his love for a beautiful lady. She had been married before, to Christ, and was
so faithful a spouse to Him that, while Mary only stood at the foot of the
Cross, she leaped up to be with Him on the Cross. These two of whom I speak
are Francis and the Lady Poverty. As they walked along together, the sight of
their mutual love drew men's hearts after them. Bernard saw them and ran after
them, kicking off his shoes to run faster to so great a peace. Giles and
Sylvester saw them, kicked off their shoes and ran to join them....
After three years, in 1210, the Pope authorized the forming of the Order of
Friars Minor, commonly called the Franciscans. ("Friar" means "brother," as in
"fraternity", and "minor" means "lesser" or "younger." I take the meaning to be
that a Franciscan, meeting another Christian, is to think, "I am your brother in
Christ, and your younger brother at that, bound to defer to you and to give you
precedence over myself."
Francis and his companions took literally the words of Christ when he sent his
disciples out to preach (Matthew 10:7-10): Preach as you go, saying, "The
kingdom of Heaven is at hand." ... You have received the Gospel without
payment, give it to others as freely. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your
belts, no bag for your journey, no spare garment, nor sandals, nor staff. They
would have no money, and no property, individually or collectively. Their task
was to preach, "using words if necessary," but declaring by word and action
the love of God in Christ. Francis was partial to a touch of the dramatic (see
his parting from his father, for example), and it was probably he who set up the
first Christmas manger scene, to bring home the Good News of God made man
for our salvation, home to men's hearts and imaginations as well as to their
In 1219, Francis went to the Holy Land to preach to the moslems. He was
given a pass through the enemy lines, and spoke to the Sultan, Melek-al-Kamil.
Francis proclaimed the Gospel to the Sultan, who replied that he had his own
beliefs, and that moslems were as firmly convinced of the truth of Islam as
Francis was of the truth of Christianity. Francis proposed that a fire be built,
and that he and a moslem volunteer would walk side by side into the fire to
show whose faith was stronger. The Sultan said he was not sure that a moslem
volunteer could be found. Francis then offered to walk into the fire alone. The
Sultan who was deeply impressed but remained unconverted. Francis proposed
an armistice between the two warring sides, and drew up terms for one; the
Sultan agreed, but, to Francis's deep disappointment, the Christian leaders
would not. Francis returned to Italy, but a permanent result was that the
Franciscans were given custody of the Christian shrines then in moslem
Back in Italy and neighboring countries, the Order was suffering from its own
success. Then, as now, many persons were deeply attracted by Francis and his
air of joy, abandonment, and freedom. What is overlooked is that these were
made possible only by his willingness to accept total poverty, not picturesque
poverty but real dirt, rags, cold, and hunger, and lepers with real pus oozing
from their sores and a real danger of infection. Many idealistic young men were
joining the Order in a burst of enthusiasm and then finding themselves not so
sure that such extremes of poverty were really necessary. When there were
only a few friars, they were all known to Francis personally, and the force of
his personality kept the original ideals of the Order alive in them. Now that the
Order was larger, this was no longer enough. In 1220 Francis resigned as
minister-general of the Order, and in 1221 he agreed to a new and modified
rule, which he did not approve, but could not resist. He died on 4 October
1226. The Franciscan split into the Conventual Franciscans, who held a limited
amount of property in common, and the Spiritual Franciscans, who disavowed
all property. They taught that Christ and the twelve apostles had held no
property, singly or jointly. This view offended those who held property, and
was declared to be heretical (proof text, John 18:10; Jesus said to Peter, "Put
up thy sword...."). In 1318, several Spiritual Franciscans were burned at the
stake in Marseilles.
>From the first known letter from Francis to all Christians:
"O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord
himself said in the gospel: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole
heart and your whole soul, and your neighbor as yourself. Thereofore, let us
love God and adore him with pure heart and mind. This is his particular desire
when he says: True worshipers adore the Father in spirit and truth. For all who
adore him must do so in the spirit of truth. Let us also direct to him our praises
and prayers, saying: "Our Father, who are in heaven," since we must always
pray and never grow slack.
Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our
neightbors as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms
because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material
things they leave behind in this world, but they carry with them the reward of
their charity and the alms they give. For these they will recieve from the Lord
the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent
according to the flesh. Rather we must be sinple, humble and pure. We should
never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are
submissive toe very human being for God's sake. The Spirit of the Lord will
rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will
permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father's children who do his work.
They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ. [James
Kiefer, abridged]

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