St Francis of Assisi Essay

St Francis of Assisi Essay

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St Francis of Assisi
Background
Born in Assisi 1181.
Real name Giovanni (John) Bernardone but nicknamed Francis (Frenchy).
Father a wealthy cloth merchant.
As a young man was a bit of a playboy – formed a band and played an early version of the guitar.
Also known for his generosity – one day he was working at his father's stall in the market and gave all the takings to a beggar.
Dreamed of military glory – joined the army and spent a year as a POW. Later very sick.
Slowly became interested in religion.
Adult
One day was praying in the ruins of the church of St Damian when he had a vision of Christ saying, “Francis go and repair my house which is falling down.”
Took the words literally. Sold some of his father's goods to rebuild the walls of the church.
Father took him to magistrates and the bishop to get the money back – Francis stripped himself naked in the city square in front of the bishop and swore that he only had one father in heaven.
Francis spent some time working as a cook in a monastery and as a labourer – used all his money on repairing churches. Words of Christ in St Matthew came to him:
“Go and preach 'The Kingdom of heaven is near!' Heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, heal the lepers, and drive out demons. You have received without paying so give without being paid. Do not carry any gold or silver in your pockets; do not carry a beggar's bag for the journey or an extra shirt or shoes or a stick.” (Mat 10:7-10)
From that moment onwards Francis was determined to imitate Christ and obey his commands in absolute poverty in Christ-like love and humble obedience.
My brother in law – a Methodist minister – put it very well a couple of days ago. To understand people like Francis we must understand tha...


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...e end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father's children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Prayer of St Francis
Francis did not write this prayer – in fact it only dates from 1912. But it absolutely typifies the attitude of Francis. He would have liked it!
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon:
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light
where there is sadness, joy
O divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.


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