For a Franciscan to be invited to speak about the Eucharist is an awesome blessing. Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sister Mary Ann Spanjers and Sister Julie Ann Sheahan were honored to lead an interactive presentation sharing the love of the Lord Jesus Christ in this sacrament of unity to Northern Michigan University Catholic Campus Ministry on January 26, 2011. The invitation was part of a regular Wednesday Evening ‘Food for Thought’ gathering.
What more fitting way to begin such a sharing than to concentrate on some of the actual writings of St. Francis and St. Clare. After beginning the evening with a reflective film of Eucharistic-themed images, Francis’ beautiful Letter to the Entire Order was highlighted.
Let everyone be struck with fear, let the whole world tremble, and let the heavens exult when Christ, the Son of the living God, is present on the altar in the hands of a priest! O wonderful loftiness and stupendous dignity! O sublime humility! O sublime humility! The Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles Himself that for our salvation He hides Himself under an ordinary piece of bread…hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves that He who gives Himself totally to you may receive you totally!
So foundational to Franciscans is the Eucharist, that this text originates in the first one hundred and fifty years of the Franciscan tradition and is crucial for understanding not only Francis, but also the movement he initiated.
Encouraging a Eucharistic love, a love poured out for the sake of the other, St. Clare’s Third Letter to Agnes was also quoted for its acknowledgment of the soul being the privileged place for the indwelling of the divine Word.
Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! Place your soul in the brilliance of glory! Place your heart in the figure of hte divine substance! And transform your whole being into the image of the Godhead Itself through contemplation! So that you, too, may feel what His friends fell as they taste the hidden sweetness which God Himself has reserved from the beginning for those who love Him.
Significant to the final moments of this Franciscan presentation was the opportunity to share faith, as St. Francis and St. Clare did, but in the context of life today.
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