In the presence of the Lord

To walk in the presence of the Lord


The humility of the childlike, Pope Francis stressed, is that of someone who “walks in the presence of the Lord, does not speak ill of others, looks only at service, and feels that he or she is the smallest.... That’s where their strength lies”. A clear example, he added, can be seen in Nazareth: “God, in sending his Son, casts his eye upon a humble maiden — very humble — who immediately afterwards hastens to help a cousin in need and she tells her nothing of what had happened”. This is humility: “to walk in the presence of the Lord, happily, joyfully, because this is the joy of the humble: to be seen by the Lord”. Therefore, with the humility of which the Gospel reading speaks, we must always remember that “humility is a gift, a gift of the Holy Spirit”. It is what we call “the gift of the fear of God”. A gift, the Pope concluded, which we must seek from the Lord: “Looking at Jesus who rejoiced because God reveals his mystery to the humble, we can ask for the grace of humility for all of us, the grace of the fear of God, of walking in his presence, trying to be beyond reproach”. A gift that will help us to “be vigilant in prayer, carrying out works of brotherly charity and rejoicing and giving praise”.

From: "The strength of the little ones" a homily by Pope Francis November 29, 2016


I could just leave it at that. Further words of reflection aren’t necessary, Pope Francis said it all, and he said it so clearly. Saint Francis of Assisi, whose Rule we try to follow also says good things about humility; the life of St. Francis was a life lived in humility. Take a look at Rule #13, for example:

“As the Father sees in every person the features of his Son, the firstborn of many brothers and sisters, so the Secular Franciscans with a gentle and courteous spirit accept all people as a gift of the Lord and an image of Christ.

A sense of community will make them joyful and ready to place themselves on an equal basis with all people, especially with the lowly for whom they shall strive to create conditions of life worthy of people redeemed by Christ.”


There are many paragraphs in our Rule that apply but #13 speaks to me, maybe because of human frailty. I find it difficult to put this Rule into practice. The “gentle and courteous spirit” is often lacking in my interaction with others.


It is easy to forget to be humble in all things (still no excuse). We are frustrated by others who often do not know when to stop talking, especially if they have nothing to say. People who go on and on about meaningless stuff often drive me to insanity. On the other hand, what they are saying is meaningful to them, so they deserve my patience and courtesy.


Someone who “walks in the presence of the Lord, does not speak ill of others.” That’s what Pope Francis said. Good advice.


Fred Schaeffer, OFS
September 16, 2018


A Gift of a New Life
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by Fred Schaeffer, OFS 2019

Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis

Divine Mercy Fraternity

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