Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Francis: Limitations

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Jeremiah 11:18–20;
Psalm 7:2–3, 9bc–10, 11–12;
John 7:40–53

“But some asked, ‘Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he?’” —John 7:40

We know that, although he spent much time in Assisi, Francis and his companions also traveled around the country a bit. On a few occasions they traveled all the way to Rome, the home of the pope and the Vatican, the heart of the Catholic Church. Francis, as always, brought his own perspective to these trips.

At this time he happened to go to Rome on pilgrimage, and in the church of Saint Peter he noticed that many people left what seemed to him very inadequate offerings. He said to himself: “Surely, the greatest honor is due to the Prince of the Apostles; how then can some folk leave such meagre alms in the church where his body rests?”

Full of fervor he took a handful of money from his purse and threw it in through a grating in the altar; the coins made such a clatter that those present heard it and were greatly astonished at such munificence. Francis then left the church, and on the steps before the entrance a number of beggars were asking for money from those who came and went. Francis quietly borrowed the clothes of one of these beggars, changing into them from his own; and, dressed in rags, he stood on the steps with the others, asking for alms…

There’s something attractive about being able to reinvent ourselves. It’s difficult, though not impossible, to do this if we stay in the same place with the same people all our lives. Perhaps the lesson we can learn from Francis is not to let ourselves be limited by what people might think they know about us.


All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
Through whom you brighten up the night.

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