Friar Jack Muses About All Saints

All Saints Day is November 1. I'd like to share with you some musings about my favorite saint, Francis of Assisi. He knew the secret that all the saints know. Everyone familiar with the life of St. Francis knows that a big moment of his conversion was his kissing of a leper that he met along the road. Kissing the leper was a great act of selfless love. The experience seemed to open up a deep well of love within St. Francis and to open his eyes to a God who wanted to love him in a way similar to his loving the leper.

In St. Bonaventure's LIFE OF ST. FRANCIS, Bonaventure describes how Francis--shortly after the leper episode--had an amazing vision. It's almost as if Francis' loving gesture toward the leper triggered in his own mind a deep insight into how intensely God loved him.

"One day," writes Bonaventure, "while Francis was praying in a secluded spot and became totally absorbed in God..., Jesus Christ appeared to him fastened to a Cross." Then, writes Bonaventure, "Francis' soul melted at the sight." This was not just a momentary good feeling for Francis. As Bonaventure writes: "The memory of Christ's passion was so impressed on the innermost recesses of Francis' heart that from that hour, whenever Christ's crucifixion came to his mind, he could scarcely contain his tearsand sighs...."

Francis, like many of the saints, had a tremendous love for the cross. For him, the Cross was the symbol of God's total, self-giving, self-emptying love. It's as if Francis saw, behind the image of the Crucified Jesus, a roaring furnace of divine love. That's the secret of all the saints. That's why the words of St. Paul apply so perfectly to the saints: "May I never boast of anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Gal. 6:14). For Francis, the cross was the best expression anyone can have of the overflowing love of God by which we are saved.


JACK O'LANTERNS, SAINTS AND SOULS!: celebrates All Hallows Eve with "How Halloween Can Be Redeemed" including a read-aloud story, "The Tale of the Jack O'Lantern": See that Saints are holy and human and receive answers for questions like "Do saints hear our prayers?" or "Are statues idols?' or "What are Seraphic saints?" at ACO's "All Saints" feature:

St. Anthony Messenger Online features Bill Hemmer: CNN's Emmy-winning News Anchor. Hemmer says his Catholic faith and family have taught him valuable lessons. Young journalist Hemmer states, "In my humble opinion, the six billion of us on this planet have one main concern: trying to make our lives and the lives of the people around us better." By Donna Palmatary


Further your understanding of a particular saint this All Saints Day by ordering one of the "A Retreat With" series books. From St. Ignatius to St. Patrick to Mother Teresa, go on a seven-day retreat and be inspired by these saints who model Christian living for us today. Search our catalog pages for all the books from this growing series.


Send an All Hallows Eve e-Greeting. Both sender and recipient are invited to follow a link to its companion, the CATHOLIC UPDATE article, "How Halloween Can Be Redeemed," a popular explanation of the Christian roots of Halloween, and the colorful tale of Jack O'Lantern.

In November, Fr. Pat's "Ask a Franciscan" answers the commonly posedquestion, "Why do Catholics pray for the dead?" Find the answer at As always, please continue to submit your questions about the Catholic faith to "Ask a Franciscan."


Check out one of the most extensive saints' listings on the net, the saints page at Catholic Online:


As always, please E-mail your suggestions and comments

Happy All Saints Day! Pax et bonum! (Peace and all good!)

--Jack Wintz, O.F.M

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