Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا abouna.org

Media for humanity through the culture of encounter
Published on Friday, 25 September 2020

"I behold him… like a star shining among the clouds"

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By Munir Bayouk/ en.abouna.org :

The miracles from heaven never came to an end over the past centuries, and to be more particular since the birth of the Prince of Peace, Lord Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.

Some people do not believe in miracles from heaven, yet they are real. People who believe in such miracles are those who trust in the Almighty Lord and give Him the reins of their lives. They consequently live in peace because they are certain that the omnipotence of Lord Jesus Christ guides their ship of life to the shores of safety.

The past centuries are abounding with miracles including Marian apparitions in various parts of the world, including Blessed Mary's healing of various and rampant global diseases.

A report was carried out on Thursday, September 25, 2020 indicating that within the skylights, an image of St. Francis of Assisi was seen glowing brightly in the sky of Assisi township. This was observed just prior to the celebrations marking the Feast of St. Francis. The picture was snapped by Christopher Wentworth who lives in Assisi. The authenticity of the image was corroborated by the press office affiliated with the Franciscan Congregation.

This image has proven to be real. But what is the significance of this? Finding a satisfying answer to this question necessitates delving into the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

"I BEHOLD HIM...LIKE A STAR SHINING AMONG THE CLOUDS"
There is passage in the Holy Bible which implicitly celebrates a role that St. Francis and the Franciscan Order played in their day. It indicates that he is "like a star shining among the clouds, like the full moon at the holyday season; Like the sun shining upon the temple; and like the rainbow appearing in the cloudy sky.

1 Behold him in whose time the house of God was renovated, in whose days the temple was reinforced. 3 In his time the reservoir was dug, the pool with a vastness like the seas. 4 He protected his people against brigands and strengthened his city against the enemy. 6 Like a star shining among the clouds, like the full moon at the holyday season; 7 Like the sun shining upon the temple, like the rainbow appearing in the cloudy sky. (Sirach 50:1,3-4,6-7)

One day in 1206, as Francis, now 24 years old, prayed in the tiny church before the Crucifix in San Damiano. He said,
"Most High, glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me
true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge, Lord, that I may carry out
Your holy and true command."

Lord Jesus Christ spoke to him from the crucifix saying, “Rebuild my Church.” Taking the words literally, Francis set about the task of rebuilding the forsaken wayside chapel of St. Damian in the valley below Assisi. Although he believed that the task of “rebuilding” the Church was just a matter of stones and mortar, his life-style changed accordingly. Many people thought that he had gone mad, and his family must have been embarrassed by his behavior. Nonetheless, some were attracted to the simplicity and sincerity of his new life.

Saint Francis of Assisi abandoned a life of luxury for a life devoted to Christianity after reportedly hearing the voice of God, who commanded him to rebuild the Christian church and live in poverty. He is the patron saint of animals and the environment.

All in all, having devoted his life to Lord Jesus by fulfilling His wish to build a church is something that does not contradict with the appearance of his image in the sky of Assisi. St. Francis is the holy man to be emulated by people who seek sanctity and perfection. Whether people believe in the appearance of the image or not, this is personal issue, yet on the other hand it is to be admitted that St. Francis excelled in being close and obedient to the will of the Lord. Obedience to the will of the Lord is the key leading to sainthood and straightforwardness in life.

Furthermore, it is important to repeat the prayer of St. Francis by asking the "Most High, glorious God, to enlighten the darkness of our hearts, and give us the sense of knowledge so that we may carry out His holy and true command.