Thursday, October 4, 2007

St. Francis of Assisi

"Jesus is happy to come with us, as truth is happy to be spoken, as life to be lived, as light to be lit, as love is to be loved, as joy to be given, as peace to be spread." - Saint Francis of Assisi

Born in a rich family, Francis Bernardone (1181-1226) was the son of a wealthy cloth merchant. Although he did have a good education was part of his family's business, Francis misspent his youth and became a street brawler and a soldier. He was later captured and spent over one year as a prisoner of war. During this time, he had a conversion experience, and felt that Christ was calling him to leave this worldly life. After being released, Francis then took his religion very seriously.

Jesus Christ became his literal example, and the Gospels as the rule of his life. Francis then began to dress in rough clothing, begged for food, and preached. His family strongly disapproved this, and later his father disinherited him. As for Francis, he renounced his wealth and inheritance, and continued to visit hospitals, served the sick, preached everywhere, and treated everyone as his sisters and brothers. Then, in the year 1209, men became attracted to him and his way of life, and Francis founded the Franciscans with papal blessing. The Franciscans were based on a statement by Christ, "Leave all and follow me."

About three years later, in 1212, Clare of Assisi became his spiritual student, and later she found the Poor Clares.
Francis composed songs and hymns, he lived with animals, cared for lepers, cleaned churches, and gave food to thieves. Then, in 1221, he resigned direction of the Franciscans. Three years later, on Mount Alvernia, Francis received stigmata, which lasted about two years, until his death in 1226.

Two years later after his death, he was canonized by Pope Gregory IX.
Francis is the patron of birds, and often pictured with birds because he also preached to them on one occasion.

Prayer to St. Francis of Assisi
Most lovable and popular Saint, son of a go-getting and wealthy merchant of Assisi, you discarded earthly possessions for the Savior you loved so dearly and you won innumerable persons for Jesus. How greatly we need in our day unselfish and just merchants. Inspire them with the love of Christ for others and with the desire for things that endure.

No comments: