In All Your Churches , In All The World….

” We adore You,
Lord Jesus Christ, here,
and in all Your Churches
throughout the whole world,
and we bless You,
because by Your holy Cross
You have redeemed the world. ”

– Testament prayer of St. Francis

This is a prayer that is said by all Franciscans when entering, leaving or passing a church…

We adore Jesus, we love Jesus and we praise his blessed name.   It is natural thing for us to praise the Son of the trinity.
Jesus, true God and true man.. who came to us as Love. Who came to teach Love, to be Love for us.   Contrary to what some might think, Jesus came to us,not because of Sin, but because of Love.  ” For God so loved the world he sent his only begotten Son”.
The converse theology would be something like ” For God was so angry that the only thing he could do was to send his only begotten Son to suffer for the sins of all mankind”.. which of course we know is incorrect.

I digress. THis first part is our suplication, our praise and expression of love for Jesus..

The next part, ” Here and in all your churches throughout the world…”  THis speaks to 2 different points..
First, the universality , the catholicity,or universality of the Church.  At the time of St Francis, not unlike today, the church had some splinter groups, or factions, and those with differing ideals, but there was still one church.. which again speaks to the universality of the church.    Although today there are a vast number of different denominations and faiths around the world, for those who belong to the Christian faith, we are still one body of believers.  And there are Christians all over the world who are part of the Body of Christ and are therefore our brothers and sisters.

The second part of this phrase speaks to the very real and true presence of Christ in the tabernacle.  For in these churches, Jesus is there, he is present.  The King of the universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, in all his uncomprehensible vastness is present in this tinyest of spaces, there for us.  There for us to adore, to praise, to visit.  He is there. He chooses , He waits for us.
” We bless you… ”  We pray and bless our Lord, each time we enter, leave or pass a church.  We bless the Lord, everytime we pray.  We bless the Lord with each work of Mercy, each work of Love, every time we put the least of our brothers and sisters before our own needs. Doing this for our brothers and sisters, for those who are forgotten, for those who are ignored and marginalized.
” Because by your Holy Cross … ”

Through the passion and death of Jesus have we come to a better understanding. Through His passion He suffered, toiled, sweated, did all the work took all our pain.    We each have the blessing of a cross, fitted just for us.  It is ours by design.  We are given the opportunity to share in the cross of Jesus by virtue of our daily struggles when we offer our struggles to God in reparation for our own sins, and the sins of our fellow man.  Each person has a cross.  It is for us to carry and for us to decide what to do with it..   As Franciscans we offer our cross to Jesus in this way, and we honor and praise and bless the Lord for His cross.
“You have redeemed the world. ”  By the Pascal mystery, his passion, death and resurrection, Jesus redeemed the entire world. He redeemed us from our sins.  He made us one.  He made us family.  In this the final line of the prayer we bring to mind that which only He could do.  By that singular act making us brothers and sisters both to each other and to Jesus.  What is left for us is to live out the legacy, the life, the promise given to us.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

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