‘The Most High Father made know from heaven, through his Holy Angel Gabriel, this Word of the Father – so worthy, so holy and glorious – in the womb of the holy and glorious Virgin Mary, from whose womb He received the flesh of our humanity and frailty. Though He was rich, He wished, together with the Most Blessed Virgin, His mother, to choose poverty in the world beyond all else’ (Later Admonition, 2-6).
For Francis, the self-emptying act of God, the very act of taking on the weakness of humanity and, in turn, making it strong, was central to both his view of Eucharist and of how he orientated his own life. Ilia Delio OFS writes in his book The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective that, ‘Incarnation means that God takes on flesh. Jesus is the Word made flesh, a Word from which we could read the ultimate nature of God and of human nature itself’ (Delia, 2005, Pg 38). He continues that ‘the mystery of the Incarnation is that God bends down to meet us wherever we are. God is [both] Most High and most intimately related to us’ (Delia, 2005, Pg 52).
For Francis, Eucharist is a process of continual self-emptying. The first emptying occurred when the word became flesh, this continued in Christ’s choice to live a poor life of embodied humanness, it culminated in the Crucifixion and continues for us in the Eucharist, which makes Christ ‘s offering and self-sacrifice really and truly present to us each day.
As we begin our journey in faith, with Christ, along the pilgrim path of the IEC, I pray that we may be granted the Grace to allow us to empty ourselves, making room in our hearts and lives for Christ; however He may present Himself to us.