An Introduction to Francis of Assisi: Weekly Summary

An Introduction to Francis of Assisi

Summary: Sunday, May 17-Friday, May 22, 2015

Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of ecology, animals, and peacemaking—because he understood that the entire circle of life has a Great Lover at the center of it all. (Sunday)

The way of Francis included and integrated the negative—forgiving and accepting the imperfection and woundedness of life. (Monday)

Francis says it this way: “The Rule and the life of the Friars Minor is simply to live the Gospel.” (Tuesday)

Francis, like all saints, delighted in both his Absolute Littleness and his Absolute Connection in the very same moment, knowing they depended on one another. (Wednesday)

Precisely because both Jesus and Francis were “conservatives” in the true sense of the term, they conserved what was worth conserving—the core, the transformative life of the Gospel—and did not let accidentals get in the way, which are the very things false conservatives usually idolize. (Thursday)

Once death is joyfully incorporated into life, you are already in heaven and there is no possibility or fear of hell. That is the Franciscan way. (Friday)


Practice: The Franciscan Calling

Francis did not wish for himself or his followers to be priests, to take higher places on the Church’s hierarchical ladder of education, prestige, and power. Francis was apparently ordained a deacon, but only under pressure, because he never talks about it. The mark of a true Franciscan heart is devotion to the Gospel, regardless of title, group, or official status. These hallmarks of the Secular Franciscan Order (from the “For Up To Now” Manual) can be claimed and practiced by anyone:

  • Simplicity: “There is no pretense in the Franciscan Spirituality. We who live by the Rule of St. Francis strive to be the genuine article, that is, people who do not care much for fame or wealth—people who live in simplicity.”
  • Poverty: “Love of Gospel poverty develops confidence in the Father and creates internal freedom.”
  • Humility: “The truth of what and who we really are in the eyes of God; freedom from pride and arrogance.”
  • A genuine sense of minority: “The recognition that we are servants, not superior to anyone.”
  • A complete and active abandonment to God: “Trusting in God’s unconditional love.”
  • Conversion: “Daily we begin again the process of changing to be more like Jesus.”
  • Transformation: “What God does for us, when we are open and willing.”
  • Peacemaking: “We are messengers of peace as Francis was.”

Re-read these qualities of a Franciscan and discern if you are called to live in such a way, making the Gospel the very core of your day-to-day doings and being. What is yours to do?

Gateway to Silence:
I must do what is mine to do.

For Further Study:
Are You Eager to Love (CD, MP3 download)
The Art of Letting Go: Living the Wisdom of St. Francis (CD)
Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi
In the Footsteps of Francis (CD, MP3 download)

Image credit: Scenes from the Life of Francis of Assisi: 5. Confirmation of the Rule (fresco detail), 1325, Giotto di Bondone, Santa Croce, Florence, Italy.