With the Al Smith Dinner at hand and the election quickly approaching, I am sometimes left searching for the truly prophetic voice of the Church in the midst of all the white noise and meaningless (or at least truthless) rhetoric. Perhaps St. Francis can serve as a prophetic voice from a time long past and help us to imagine and discover our own prophetic voices in times such as these:
To all mayors and consuls, magistrates and rulers throughout the world, and to everyone who may receive these letters: Brother Francis, your little and despicable servant in the Lord God, sends his wishes of health and peace to all of you.
Pause and reflect, for the day of death is approaching. I beg you, therefore, with all possible respect, not to forget the Lord or turn away from His commandments by reason of the cares and preoccupations of this world, for all those who are oblivious of Him and turn away from His commands are cursed and will be totally forgotten by Him. And when the day of death does come, everything which they think they have will be taken from them. And the wiser and more powerful they may have been in this world, so much greater will be the punishments they will endure in hell.
Therefore, I firmly advise you, my lords, to put aside all care and preoccupation and receive with joy the most holy Body and the most holy Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in holy remembrance of Him.
And you should manifest such honor to the Lord among the people entrusted to you that every evening an announcement be made by a town crier or some other signal that praise and thanks may be given by all people to the all-powerful Lord God. And if you do not do this, know that you must render an account before the Lord your God, Jesus Christ, on the day of judgment.
Let those who keep this writing with them and observe it know that they will be blessed by the Lord God.
– St. Francis of Assisi, “A Letter to the Rulers of the Peoples.”