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Rebuild the Church
Diane M. Houdek
Source: Bringing Home the Word
Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013

When we follow Saint Francis, we return again and again to one of the defining moments of his life, the call he heard to rebuild the church. This changed everything for him, even though at first he wasn’t sure what it meant. In the early days, he took the words of Jesus quite literally, gathering stones and learning to cement them together to repair the actual walls of several crumbling churches in Assisi.

His biographers tell us that he sold his horse and the rest of his belongings and wanted to give the money to the pastor of the church of San Damiano. The pastor, however, fearful of Francis’ powerful merchant father, refused the donation. Francis threw the money on the window sill of the church where, as Thomas of Celano tells us, it was lost in the dust that was already there. To Francis, the money had no more value than the dust.

The money-based economy that was new and even revolutionary in Francis’ day is something we take for granted today. But it never hurts to ask questions about our priorities in light of the gospel call to sell what we have and give to the poor. We — and our churches — will be better for having done so.

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