Today on the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, I reflect on my first visit to Assisi in 1998 and a quote from Saint Francis, that I read at that time that has always stayed with me.
“Start by doing what is necessary, Then what is possible And suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
I learned that we can all make a difference by our actions to help others and that became my life purpose.
Whilst we often think that proclaiming the Gospel begins with what we say, it is often what we do and how you make people feel that really matters. Many of us can be challenged by our lack of confidence in demonstrating the language of faith but we all can refresh our faith development in our actions in what we do as people of faith.
Saint Francis’s view on sharing the Gospel takes on this perspective of actions speaking louder than words, “Preach the Gospel at times and when necessary, use words”
Most people read about his actions, stories of his radical life, commitment to his faith and supporting the vulnerable. Saint Francis’s words touched many people who were around him, but more significantly, his actions have impacted on generations.
He said, “This is what I wish, this is what I am seeking, this is what I want to do from the bottom of my heart.”
We can continue his ministry by making a difference using the opportunities right in front of us, in our actions and how we reach out to others as people of faith.
This week also celebrated international day of older people on the 1st of October. In my experience older people are the torchbearers of our faith tradition. Aging is a gift to the entire faith community. When that community reflects the contributions of all, the old as well as the young, it will truly proclaim the ageless Christ present among us. I am blessed to be involved in some way to help make this happen.
This week let us all take time together in our homes, communities, places of work and education to consider the messages of Saint Francis and to recognise the contributions of older people.
Let us …. reach out to older people in our families and communities in whatever way we can.
Consider the issues that affect the lives of older people such as, loneliness, ill health, loss of loved ones, the impact of dementia, the recent challenges of Covid 19 and the need for all of our older people to continue to be active in their spiritual life.
Let us…. do the necessary for them…. Let us do what is possible for them and together in these uncertain times we can begin to try and achieve the impossible for them. Today on the feast of Saint Francis we can follow his example, we can reflect more on thinking about always having the right thing to say and simply let our actions do the talking.
Let us…. all try to support our older people to take 5 simple steps to help them keep well. (See link below for further information and useful resources from Age NI)
Siobhan is a retired nurse and currently works as an associate consultant for the NI HSC leadership centre, she is also a board member of AGENI and is the chairperson of the Board of Governor’s for St Joseph’s Boys school.
Image used with permission ©AGENI