TAU is the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet. St. Francis of Assisi had an especially great love for this Hebrew mark.
The First Christians used the Tau mark, as it was a prophecy of the Last Day, as in the Greek letter Omega. Omega stands for the Risen Lord.
"I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." ~ Revelation 22:13
And Christians adopted the TAU because its form evokes the cross upon which Christ sacrificed himself...for our salvation. Our Redemption.
The TAU is a sign of redemption.
"Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." ~ 1 Peter 2:24
With Lent fast approaching, I decided to begin wearing my TAU to remind me of God's plan for my own redemption. I hope, in some little way, it will help remind me to turn away from evil and sin.
"Be penitent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." ~ Acts 3:19
I happened to be cleaning out my closet and found my TAU hidden away with a holy card and bookmark. These material treasures were among the pictures of the pilgrimage I took to Assisi and The Porziuncola at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. The visit to this holy place was the real treasure.
There is a Chapel...a National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi, here in San Francisco, which I plan to make a pilgrimage to as part of my Lenten Journey. For my visitors that live afar, you can take a virtual tour here.
I learned that St. Francis used to sign all his writings with the TAU sign. It was his "seal", if you will. St. Francis' great conviction of "the salvation of the world lies only in the cross of Christ" is apparent in how he lived his life.
I like to think that I belong to this great Franciscan family...about thirty-six years ago I chose St. Francis of Assisi as my Confirmation saint and namesake.
It made me so happy when I heard that our current Pope (Francis) chose St. Francis of Assisi's name, too. His reasons were more well formed than my 15 year old mind, but I related to his reasons totally:
"the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation". That is the person that I wanted most to emulate.
May we all 'die to ourselves' this Lent. May we all find peace and show peace to others from now on...may we continue to be good stewards, serving and sharing the love of Christ in all that we do.
"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, unity.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is error, truth.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is sadness, joy.
Where there is darkness, light.
O Divine Master, grant that I many not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console.
To be understood, as to understand.
To be loved, as to love.
It is in giving, that we receive.
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned.
It is in dying, that we are born to eternal life."
~ Saint Francis of Assisi