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Good Friday Meditation


Charles Flynn

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The Cross of St. Francis

 

One day in the opening years of the 13th century, a young man named Francesco Bernadone, son of a wealthy merchant, entered the tiny deteriorating church of San Damiano, a mile from Assisi in Italy. The young man had all the advantages a prosperous family could offer, but uneasy, he searched for something more.

 

Only one noticeable object was left in the unused, neglected church - a large life-sized cross hanging above the dark, dusty altar. The Icon of Christ Crucified came strangely alive, with great powerful eyes that looked everywhere.

 

As Francis knelt in prayer, the eyes of Jesus fixed on him. The lips moved and spoke: “Francis, go and rebuild my church which, as you see, is falling into ruin.”

 

In response, Francis of Assisi began restoring the old church building and some other neglected churches nearby. But soon he realized the voice was calling him to something more.

 

He was to take into his hands, not bricks and stones, but human beings. Francis was to rebuild the Church of God, bringing his neighbours the simple joy of the gospel of Christ and making them “living stones” standing beautiful before God and the world.

All his life afterwards, St. Francis followed that message he heard from the cross: “Rebuild my church.”

 

Anyone approaching the cross will hear the same message: love those whom Jesus loves, looking on all as your brothers and sisters. Devotion to the cross of Christ gives you a loving heart to help rebuild the lives of others.

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