Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi, religious
(Galatians 1:13-24; Luke 10:38-42)
The lives of Saints Paul and Francis exhibit a remarkable similarity. Both icons of the Church experienced profound religious conversion. As a young man, Francis was a soldier of fortune. He fought as a soldier and lived a profligate lifestyle. Then he encountered Christ who changed his ways. Imitating his new found Lord, Francis divested himself of worldliness. His new disposition attracted many followers to his side.
Paul relates part of his conversion in today’s first reading. As a zealous Jew, he persecuted the Church mercilessly. Then he met the one whom he found most objectionable, and his life also radically changed. Evidently Paul contemplated what happened in his encounter with Christ for years. Aware of a call to preach the gospel, Paul prepared himself carefully before beginning a mission.
It is likely that all of us have experienced a calling by Christ. We probably did not see him or hear him as a distinct voice. Perhaps Christ made himself felt through the poor who rely completely on him or through the Church, his body. Nevertheless, he has touched us with a sense of purpose. We too have been converted. We now live as his disciples imitating his goodness and handing on his love.