Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament,
the ultimate in Franciscan Spirituality
Francis greatly "desired that God be honored liturgically through His only Son, Jesus Christ. He revered the Eucharist as a living reminder of our salvation through the Cross. The praise of lips along with the angelic choirs was his constant occupation and joy†."
In his letter to all the faithful, Saint Francis emphasized the greatest commandment of all. He requests that we must love God... and our neighbor as ourselves. We, Franciscans, walk the way of the Cross in imitation of Jesus Christ.
We cannot love God if we exalt the "self" rather than adore God's Glory. "Francis' special concern is the Divine Glory and man's refusal to let it shine through his person. Vanity, arrogance, extravagant self-esteem, jealousy, envy, hatred, wrong self-assertion, deceitfulness, untruthfulness, exercising excessive control over others, these are vices that go against the glory of God. Saint Francis, in his Order and as an example for the world to see, made self-denial an absolute condition for reflecting the glory of God. In the 21st Century, most people have lost recognition of the need for self-denial and have even lost the knowledge of right vs. wrong. "The remedy for sin is to carry the cross of Jesus Christ instead of crucifying Him by sin. One carries the cross rather than inflects it, by recognizing the real enemy, the flesh†."
"Sin has one root: the inordinate love of self ― that tendency of the human ego to concentrate all its attention upon its own maintenance and the furtherance of its own private ends. Jesus did not aim at the elimination of this self-love but at its complete subordination to the love of God and man†."
Saint Francis had a living faith in the Eucharist, and he regarded this as a special grace. This is evident from his own words: "We adore you, O Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all the churches which are in the whole world and we praise you because by your holy cross you redeemed the world." Saint Francis attended the Lateran Council of 1215 and it was at Francis' insistence that certain rules were established pertaining to the Blessed Sacrament kept in the Tabernacles in churches, because until then there were not standards of cleanliness and decoration of the Sanctuary.
Francis was "keenly aware of the triple-faceted richness of the Eucharist: 1) as sacrifice, 2) as a Sacrament, and 3) as Presence. In this writings he describes the "Real Presence." Francis noted that he "saw a prolongation of the Incarnation and how the abiding Eucharistic presence makes the Incarnate Word humanly accessible to believers of all ages†."
"Adoration holds an important place in the spirituality of Saint Francis. God alone deserves adoration because He alone is good. We should praise the Trinity through the mediator Christ, that is, through the Eucharistic sacrifice." (cf. Rule of 1221)
In order for us to praise and adore God through Jesus Christ, it is first necessary to repent and confess our sins or shortcomings. Then we continue our pilgrimage of the Cross, to deny the flesh and thus only adore Jesus Christ in the way of Saint Francis. Change my Heart, O God. My life is for you, Lord. May I adore You and praise You with my actions, that are possible only with Your Grace, as charity toward brothers and sisters. As Franciscans, we have been given a clear picture of what Francis had in mind for us, our Rule, Constitutions and Statutes. For those reading this, who are not Franciscans... If you wish to follow Jesus Christ as Roman Catholics, you too have an obligation to suppress the flesh (that takes sacrifice!) and love God deeply as His Son Jesus did. We all have a spiritual intercessor in Heaven and that is Mary, the Mother of us all.
† From: The Real Francis by Fr. Sergius Wroblewski, OFM. 1967 Franciscan Publishers, Pulaski, Wisconsin