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Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Francis: Francis and the Sultan

Feb 27, 2021
Lent with St. Francis: Francis and the Sultan

Saturday of the First Week of Lent

Deuteronomy 26:16–19;
Psalm 119:1–2, 4–5, 7–8;
Matthew 5:43–48

“Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” —Matthew 5:44

The best illustration from the life of Francis of his willingness to take this passage seriously was his journey to visit the sultan. The Crusades were still in full swing at this time. Francis’s willingness to meet with and talk to the sultan showed a level of tolerance that few of his day could match, although Sultan Malik al-Kamil was himself known for his tolerance of other faiths. They were well-matched for this meeting.

The sultan honored him as much as he was able, and having given him many gifts, he tried to bend Francis’s mind toward the riches of the world. But when he saw that Francis most vigorously despised all these things as so much dung, he was filled with the greatest admiration, and he looked upon him as a man different from all others. He was deeply moved by his words and he listened to him very willingly.

This meeting between Francis and the sultan has received a great deal of attention in our own century. The need for peace and understanding is as great in our time as it was during the Crusades, and sometimes as little valued. Francis still sets an example for us. And Jesus’s command still holds true.


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.

Faith and Family


Submitted by Rita (not verified) on Sat, 02/27/2021 - 08:19 AM


Citizens of the US & other capitalist societies ought to meditate on Francis & the Sultan Excellent modeling for us! Simplifying our lives, doing without so many "things" so that others may just live is the best path to peace. Thank you for sending this.

Living in a capitalist society does mean we can't model ourselves after St Francis. On the contrary, a capitalist society gives us the freedom to choose to live like St Francis publicly and in the open in order to set an example for others to follow.

Submitted by Terence Lover (not verified) on Sat, 02/27/2021 - 04:23 PM


Not only may Pope Francis extend a bridge to our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, but may we always extend ourselves to those with whom we have disagreements. Let our relationships and our acceptance of others resonate throughout the world. Let our conviction locally support peaceful lives everywhere.

Submitted by Francisco A. M… (not verified) on Sat, 02/27/2021 - 09:53 PM


I have seen many times and many places when in the corners of the streets a beggar comes over and ask for food or money and many of us including myself look in different direction, I have regretted my actions some times eventhou I have helped a lot of times to them but the true is that I should help them every time when they approach me if not with food or money because I do not have it We have something more important that is A Prayer with them so God can bring home, food, money or any help so they have a life full of dignity, health and peace for them and their families. Saint Francis pray for us so we can keep our eyes open to the needs of our neighbors in this world.

Submitted by Presentacion (not verified) on Sat, 03/06/2021 - 08:27 PM


In my pilgrimages in very different parts of the world, I met many living Jesus in a different cultures.I was not sure if they were gypsies , seemed like they came from a war thorn countries.Meager amount of foreign currency were given and they were very thankful, one was a violinist holding the hand of his daughter, played few notes as a sign of gratitude. As Jesus said “ Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Generous prayers makes wonders and unexpected miracles.

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