Franciscan Prayer: The Eucharistic Disclosure of the Poor and Humble Christ (part 8 in a series)

Earlier posts on Franciscan prayer explored how Francis and Clare glimpsed the poor and humble God in the generous act of creation and his incredible self-emptying visible in the Incarnation of Jesus, especially in his birth and death–moments of such vulnerability that Jesus’ poverty and humility can scarcely be ignored.

There is one more favorite Franciscan experience of the poor and humble Christ disclosing a poor and humble God: the Eucharist. Francis’ reasoning may not be clear at first, but it is simply this. Francis thought bread and wine were about the most humble things in all of creation. Yet Christ becomes present to us under the appearance of these humble means. Thus, Eucharist becomes yet another experience of the poor and humble God.

Francis and Clare thought it was an incredible thing for the most high God to forgo the privileges of divinity in order to share our humble human nature. Well, if they thought that action was humility in action, you can understand how they were absolutely blown away by their belief that, through Christ, God daily becomes present to us in the humble forms of bread and wine.

The important part of this for our reflection on Franciscan prayer is the way they gazed at, considered, contemplated, and imitated this humble God present in Eucharist like they did the humble God visible in the Incarnation. At its core, the uniqueness of Franciscan life and prayer is the very original way the early Franciscans understood God. That would include what God’s humble life is like, how God works in the world, what God genuinely desires, and what God is willing to do to get what he wants.

Most importantly, we need to remember that these are not just neat or different ideas. Rather they are experiences of God that Franciscans hope to turn into experiences for the whole world through their imitation.