The National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi
Dear Friends of the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi,
Dear Friends of The National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi:
Another new liturgical year is upon us as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ on Christmas. Almost everyone knows that The Nativity of the Lord was for St. Francis of Assisi his favorite holy day.
Because the Incarnation-God becoming man-is so central to Franciscan Spirituality, everything else flows from it:
- Poverty, because the Lord makes himself poor for our sake by being born as a babe;
- The Cross, because this is the reason the Second Person of The Most Blessed Trinity took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men: so that he could die in our stead;
- The Eucharist, for under the appearance of bread and wine, the Lord continues to sustain us and abide with us, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity;
- The Blessed Virgin Mary who was his first tabernacle and who gave him birth.
Francis would challenge us to renew Christmas by allowing Jesus to be born again in each of our lives, each of our homes, each of our workplaces, and each of our communities by our participation in the Incarnation. We honor Christmas when we allow others to see the Christ Child living in us even as we recognize his presence in others.
Just as Mary gave flesh to "God Among Us," may we each respond to this wondrous gift of love by our generosity in sharing him with others. It is only when we can appreciate Christ's self-giving in the Incarnation that we can begin to understand the meaning of "it is giving that we receive."
You and yours will be remembered in the Holy Masses offered in The National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi during this most joyous season.
Pax et Bonum,
Fr. Gregory Coiro, O.F.M.Cap.,