October 27, 2010
A Meditation on the <br/>Franciscan Coat of Arms
by Friar Jack Wintz, O.F.M.
If you go to any of our Franciscan friaries, churches or
convents, you will almost always find the Franciscan Coat of Arms, painted somewhere, hanging on a wall or visible
over a doorway. This holds true around the world as
well as through the centuries.
The Franciscan coat of arms often consists of a cross with
two arms crossing each other and nailed to a cross—or at least with a cross in
the background. One arm is that of Christ; the other is that of St. Francis of Assisi. This image is a
key identification badge for those who consider themselves followers of St.
This Franciscan coat of arms is an image worthy of our
contemplation. The image is a true expression of both Jesus’ and Francis’ fervent
style of love. We see in Jesus’ crucified hand, first of all, God’s incredible
overflowing love for us. In Francis’ wounded hand, in turn, we see the
incredibly loving response of St. Francis to the burning love of God, who first
This is indeed something to ponder. All in all, the
Franciscan coat of arms is a wonderful expression of the Franciscan (or
Seraphic) style of love. Though few of us live up to this ideal, it calls us to
something rare and splendid!
Lord Jesus, you said, “No one has greater love than this: to
lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Help us to contemplate the amazing
intensity of your love, as symbolized by your crucified hand. Help us also to
imitate you more fully, who first loved us, and to imitate St. Francis, who
responded so fervently to the love so lavishly pour out upon him. Amen.
Hello, Joe. You are right. The greatest use of power is in service
of others. Yes, get that movie...it's powerful in its own right. Fr. Jim
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