Rebuilding OUR Church – The Body of Christ

St. Francis at Prayer

Click here for Pensamiento Franciscano – a copy of this article in Spanish.

You most likely saw the devastating news regarding Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. At that time, we witnessed the true beauty of the Church – the body of Christ coming together after such a shocking event, right before Easter Sunday. It awoke a sleeping global religious community and made each person take inventory related to the value of not just the building, but the faith we sometimes put aside. Prior to this fire, for many, Easter week was a process that was loaded on a calendar.

It was the culmination of Lent, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and then Easter Sunday. Like the risen Christ, this global community rose to the challenge. This faith community not only rose to the challenge of re-building their building, they became aware, as St. Francis, to help others, to love and put to use the true attributes of our Catholic Faith.

As I saw the unbelievable picture of the fire fighters inside Notre Dame, struggling to put out the fire, the beautiful cross above the altar stood out in all its wonder. It’s at that moment I recalled this story:

“One day when Francis went out to meditate in the fields, he was passing by the church of San Damiano which was threatening to collapse because of extreme age. Inspired by the Spirit, he went inside to pray.

Kneeling before an image of the Crucified, he was filled with great fervor and consolation as he prayed. While his tear-filled eyes were gazing at the Lord’s cross, he heard with his bodily ears a voice coming from the cross, telling him three times: ‘Francis, go and repair my house which, as you see, is falling into ruin.’

Trembling with fear, Francis was amazed at the sound of this astonishing voice, since he was alone in the church; and as he received in his heart the power of the divine words, he fell into a state of ecstasy. Returning finally to his senses, he prepared to put his whole heart into obeying the command he had received. He began zealously to repair the church materially, although the principle intention of the words referred to that Church which Christ purchased with his own blood, as the Holy Spirit afterward made him realize….” (St. Boniface)

God speaks to us during our tragedies; it is a time of purging our souls of things that hold back our Christianity. Allowing us to grow our faith and put it to use, helps us to move closer to God.

How have you experienced this in your life? Have you heard God whisper to you at times like this? Energizing your faith one more time?

The Pastoral Council helps the Pastor foster an environment in our beautifully diverse Parish in which all are welcomed, the Gospel of Christ is lived through the lens of our shared Franciscan spirituality, and stewardship is practiced. Through planning, prayer, and discernment, the Pastoral Council endeavors to support the many good works of our parish ministries. Our Franciscan Thoughts are written by members of the Pastoral Council to deepen our understanding of what it means to live as members of a Franciscan parish. Questions? Comments? Please feel free to contact Yvonne Hanzen, Council President, at

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