During Lent, if we forget everything else in our relationship with God, we need to remember that we are called into an unbreakable covenant with the Divine. Whatever our destiny, we must respond to the Lord’s call.
When St. Francis was in his early twenties, he rode off to battle against the nearby city-state of Perugia. He was captured and imprisoned for a year. He returned home sick and spent the next year virtually bedridden. When he recovered from his illness, he spent time simply wandering the area, praying in abandoned chapels, walking in the woods and on slopes of Mount Subasio, spending time in caves listening first to the silence and then to the voice of God.
St. Francis was not the first saint to have encountered God during an illness. There’s something about serious illness that forces us to confront our mortality and then to question our priorities. St. Francis had longed to be a knight, a soldier, to do great deeds on the field of battle. When he lost that opportunity, he had a choice between spending the rest of his life depressed at his ill fortune or listening to the plans God had for him.
You are our eternal life,
Great and wonderful Lord,