Let us Lectio: Saint Among the Dying

by Callie Nowlin

North Texas Catholic

3/3/2020

 Frances of Rome giving alms; painting in Getty museum, Los Angeles Frances of Rome giving alms; painting in Getty museum, Los Angeles
"Frances of Rome giving Alms," from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Giovanni Battista Gaulli, 1675.
 


The Feast of St. Frances of Rome, March 9, 2020


Steps to Lectio Divina

Start by using these steps to reflect on the Scripture verse. Then read my meditation slowly.

Lectio: Having asked for the grace to hear God's word, read the passage twice.

Meditatio: During the second reading, pause whenever so moved and reflect on a word, a sentence, or an image that strikes you.

Oratio: Speak directly to God, and open your reflection to Him.

Contemplatio: Listen contemplatively for any response God might choose to make. Remember that God responds to us at times with loving silence.
 

The Scripture

From the Gospel for March 9, 2020, Monday of the Second Week of Lent (Luke 6:36-38)

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
 
“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”

 

Reflection

From an early age, Frances nurtured an ardent desire to fully and freely serve God in a convent. However, she would wait many years and suffer much adversity before she would see this dream fulfilled.

In obedience to her parents, Frances agreed to follow through with an arranged marriage with a young nobleman. Instead of living a life of seclusion and prayer, her marriage would require of her a certain level of social engagements and the running of her new household. 

In this new state in life, Frances continued striving to please God in all things even though it resulted in ridicule from her peers. Eventually, after a difficult illness and miraculous recovery Frances ran immediately to the local parish to give thanks to God. In gratitude for God’s infinite mercy, Frances responded not only with an intensified prayer life but a conviction to imitate God in His mercy to others. Thus, from then on, she spent her spare time imitating His mercy by being at the bedside of the sick and serving the poor, doing all she could to alleviate their suffering.

Born in 1384, Saint Frances lived in uncertain times marked by war, famine, and disease. Both rich and poor alike avoided contact with those hurting around them, especially those who were clearly and visibly afflicted with open sores for fear of contracting plague. In addition to this social isolation, the sick also faced a scarcity of medical care — even in hospitals — which made the reality of becoming ill frightful. But because of the love of God that swelled inside her, she saw these abandoned and distressed faces with the eyes of His love. Later, she would be asked to form a community of women consecrated to God and serving the Lord in prayer and in service to the poor. This congregation is known as the Olivetan Oblates of Mary.

The Gospel reading teaches that the greatest duty and responsibility of those who seek the Lord Jesus Christ is to imitate Him by loving God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. Having being conformed to the heart and mind of God, this love will naturally overflow into a love of our neighbor, for through the conversion of heart that divine love imparts to the humble and the willing, we can see our neighbor through the eyes of faith, through God’s eyes.

 

Callie Nowlin, MTS, is the Director of Religious Education for Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Abbott and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Penelope.

 

 

 


Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

From an early age, Frances nurtured an ardent desire to fully and freely serve God in a convent. However, she would wait many years and suffer much adversity before she would see this dream fulfilled.

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