I had a Theology Lecturer who often described the Incarnation this way: God always loved the World but through the Incarnation, He actually said the words, I Love You. Christ is the Word of God’s Love for us. God gave of Himself so that we may know that we are loved, we are part of Him and He is part of us. The Incarnation of this Love is repeated daily in the Eucharist and for Francis it was the knowledge of this that united him to Christ and to all of Creation. It was the knowledge of this that sustained him in his mission and through all his trials and illness. This Love is a deep, self-sacrificing, other centred Love that was Francis strength in weakness. He knew he was loved and so needed no more.
In the Earlier Rule Francis writes ‘Therefore, let us desire nothing else, let us want nothing else, let nothing else please us and cause us delight, except Our Creator, Redeemer and Saviour, the only True God, Who is the fullness of Good, all Good, every Good, the true and supreme Good’ (ER, 9).
For Francis God’s Love for us equates to God’s Goodness. He saw the Creator in all that surrounded him, in the plants and animals, the sun and moon, the poor and Lepers and everybody he met, even those who persecuted him and he rejoiced in it because it all comes from God and God IS Good and God IS Love.
Francis had deep reverence for the Blessed Virgin as the one who was chose to bring the Word into the World. In light of this he wrote the Salutation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is a beautiful piece of poetry:
Hail, O Lady, Holy Queen
Mary, Holy Mother of God, Who are Virgin made Church,
Chosen by the Most Holy Father in heaven whom he consecrated with His most Holy Beloved Son
And with the Holy Spirit the Paraclete, in whom there was and is all fullness of grace and every good.
Hail His Palace!
Hail His Tabernacle!
Hail His Dwelling!
Hail His Robe!
Hail His Servant!
Hail His Mother!
Again we see Francis reverence for all places touched by Christ from the womb of His mother to the places where the Blessed Sacrament was reserved. Everything was touched by God and therefore became sacred.
We pray that we may become vessels of Christ in the World, that through the prayers of Mary, His Mother, the Virgin made Church, we may carry Christ in our hearts and minds at all times with reverence and love. That we may recognise the Goodness of God in all we see and to always remember that Christ, for us, is the Father saying to each of us….I Love you. Let this be our only desire and let us delight always in it, praising, adoring and thanking God with our lives.