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What If We Did What Francis Did?

In one way or another the Franciscan saints were all struck by the question that came to St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, whose dramatic conversion was prompted by his meditation on the saints: “What if I should do as St. Francis did?” Another translation of that question might be: What if I were to live as if the Gospel were true? As Carlo Carretto, a modern admirer, has observed: “At least once in our lives we have dreamed of becoming saints.… Stumbling under the weight of the contradictions of our lives, for a fleeting moment, we glimpsed the possibility of building within ourselves a place of simplicity and light.… This is when St. Francis entered our lives in some way.”

—from The Franciscan Saints by Robert Ellsberg

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God Sends Us Where We're Needed

“God is not an obligation or a burden. God is the joy of my life!” —Fr. Mychal Judge

On the bright fall morning of September 11, 2001, firefighters across New York were summoned to a scene of unimaginable horror: Two hijacked airliners had crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. As firefighters rushed into the burning buildings, they were accompanied by their chaplain, Fr. Mychal Judge. Hundreds of them would die that day, among the nearly three thousand fatalities in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Fr. Judge would be among them. There seemed to be special meaning in the fact that Fr. Mychal was listed as the first certified casualty of 9/11. A photograph of his fellow firemen carrying his body from the wreckage to a neighboring church became an icon of that day: an image of loving service and sacrifice, a hopeful answer to messages born of fear and fanaticism.

—from The Franciscan Saints by Robert Ellsberg

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