A Letter to Saint Francis of Assisi

Garrett writes a letter to Francis of Assisi, his patron saint.

Dear Francis of Assisi,

Greetings, my patron saint! I believe this letter is long overdue. We’ve already had a long and interesting correspondence across the span of 800 years (and my comparatively shorter 25 years). You’ve definitely had a very strong influence in shaping my faith when I was younger, and your example continues to inspire me in various ways.

I think my first encounter with you was as a teenager reading Carlo Carretto’s fantastic book I, Francis. In this book, Carretto addressed the reader with your voice, giving an introduction to your life and thought. What I really took away from reading that book was your joy and appreciation for God’s other creations. At the time, I was struggling a lot with the question of how to make people see the beauty of the faith when it seemed as if no one was interested or had other things preoccupying their time. Thus, when I read your story, and learned about how you were so willing to be a fool for Christ in order to get people to pay attention and hopefully open their eyes to consider higher things. So when it was time to pick a confirmation name, for me the obvious choice was, of course, Francis.

However, I confess that I find your life, inspiring as it is, a little difficult to distill lessons from. Books upon books have been written upon the subject. I think part of the reason, of course, is that I personally do not have the same single-minded devotion to the Lord that you had. Not yet, at least. But I think another part of the reason is that it’s hard to pin down the specific charisms you used to serve the world – there were so many! Was it your famous love for animal life? Your embracing of ‘Lady Poverty’ as part of your call to holiness? Perhaps it is simply your infectious joy that led you to dance and sing the praises of God.

If I had to hazard a guess, I think I would say that more than all of these, you showed the world what it’s like to be a saint. Or at least, what embarking on that journey of sainthood looks like. Just like we do, you lived in a time of great turmoil (perhaps every era is, in its own way). Political unrest, civil strife, corruption, greed – all these things were not foreign to you, just as they aren’t to us. And it’s easy to deaden oneself to it all, live for the moment, and resign ourselves to not being able to make a difference.

But that was not the path you chose, was it? You decided to respond to God’s call to fulfill the purpose He called you to. And that call led you to a life that touched the lives of everyone – Pope and pauper, lord and leper, soldier and Sultan. Reading your life, it seemed that no one who met you came away unchanged. And although I know that your own spiritual journey had its own valleys and pitfalls, the joy that radiated from you showed the world that true joy and contentment really came from doing God’s work.

I know that everyone’s call to holiness is different. God created us all individually, and gives each of us unique gifts. But I think whatever form holiness takes, it bears something of the… ‘feel’ of your life. A saint channels the life of Jesus Christ, bringing light to the world in gentleness and truth, as He did. Please continue to pray for us, to discover our own calls to holiness, and to pursue this call with courage as you did.

Yours in Christ,

Garrett

© 2019 Christ Centered Conversations/Garrett Christopher Ng

Letter to St. Peter

Greg asks St Peter about the divides present in the Church

Hey St Peter!

What’s up? (If Heaven is truly above us, then you would be up I guess) Thanks for taking care of the keys of Heaven and for continually praying for us to our Father in Heaven! Thanks for letting me write a letter to you (truly very honored to be writing to the first Pope)! I must say, it is truly an honor to be writing to the first Pope of the Church and the Rock on which Jesus build His Church upon. I think it’s quite fascinating for me to be able to converse with someone who has not only walked alongside Jesus literally but have continued to spread the message of Christ to all and have ultimately, paid the price through your death (my sincerest condolences). So many questions I have in my head, so little time (or space).

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Letter to Pope John XXIII

Chris writes a letter to Pope John XXIII — a Saint whom he finds very jolly and jovial (with a very important lesson to teach!)

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”  – Pope John XXIII

Dear Pope John XXIII,

Congratulations on your recent canonisation four years ago! I hope that all’s well with you in Heaven and that you’re enjoying yourself immensely with the communion of saints as well as the perpetuation adoration of our Lord, God and master, Jesus Christ.

I must be honest: I write to you today not because I have loads to share with you nor do I have any particular prayer intention that require your assistance. Pope John XXIII you must forgive me: I hardly know you and only just read about you the other day whilst completing the book The Ascent of Mount Carmel: Saint John of the Cross Reflections by Friar Marc Foley, OCD. That being said, after chancing upon one of your quotes and reflecting on it deeper in prayer, I must say that I felt a stirring in my heart to get to know you better. I will share your quote momentarily but before that, I just want to say that I’m moved by how light-hearted you seem to be. Reading up on you has allowed me to get a better sense of who you are. Yet, most – if not all – of the quotes that I’ve read about you seem to paint you as an exceptionally jovial and joyful person. Pope John XXIII, your personality speaks to the depth of my heart simply because you don’t take yourself too seriously; you seem to exude a distinctive childlike aura that I find deeply alluring – one that painfully reminds me just how “adult” I’ve grown to become.

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A Letter to St. Francis Xavier

Garrett shares his appreciation to St. Francis Xavier, a co-founder of the Society of Jesus, responsible for bringing Catholicism to Goa, India, Southeast Asia and Japan.

Dear Francis Xavier,

I’d like to start this letter with a bit of a confession. Although I selected ‘Francis’ as my confirmation name, I did not exactly have you in mind when I chose it. Back then, I was drawn to the radical simplicity of Saint Francis of Assisi – I still am, although I have found, as he did, that it doesn’t always suit everyone.

It’s been almost a decade since my confirmation, but in that time, I’ve learnt about a few other Saint Francises, and come to admire them all. There’s Francis de Sales – the patron saint of writers, who I obviously felt an immediate affinity to. Also, I learned about your fellow Jesuit, Francis Borgia, who was a Spanish noble and the white sheep of a family who used the Catholic Church as a means to satisfy their own lusts and greed.

And then of course, there is you.

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