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Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Francis: Taming the Wolf

Feb 26, 2021
Lent with St. Francis: Taming the Wolf

Friday of the First Week of Lent

Ezekiel 18:21–28;
Psalm 130:1–2, 3–4, 5–7a, 7bc–8;
Matthew 5:20–26

“When the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life.” —Ezekiel 18:27

One of the best-known stories of St. Francis is that of his taming the fierce wolf of Gubbio. Francis speaks to the wolf that has been terrorizing the town. He addresses him from the beginning as “Brother Wolf” and so acknowledges a connection with the creature. He asks the wolf to agree to stop murdering the townspeople. Then he uses the opportunity to preach to the people about their own need for penance and forgiveness.

“So, dear people,” he said, “come back to the Lord, and do fitting penance, and God will free you from the wolf in this world and from the devouring fire of hell in the next world.” And having said that, he added: “Listen, dear people. Brother Wolf, who is standing here before you, has promised me and has given me a pledge that he will make peace with you and will never hurt you if you promise also to feed him every day. And I pledge myself as bondsman for Brother Wolf that he will faithfully keep this peace pact.”

Jesus and Francis both know that often the evil that we see and hate in others reflects some shadowy part of our own attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors. The wolf of Gubbio is a reminder to us that we need to confront our fears and anger, taming them with the love of God.


Holy Obedience puts to shame all natural and selfish desires.
It mortifies our lower nature and makes it obey the
spirit and our fellow men.
Obedience subjects a man to everyone on earth,
And not only to men,
but to all the beasts as well and to the wild animals,
So that they can do what they like with him, as far as
God allows them.

Minute Meditations


Submitted by Rich Gargiulo (not verified) on Fri, 02/26/2021 - 09:07 AM


I love this story and Francis' hymn, "All Creatures of our God and King." I wish I had Francis' gift with the animals! I talk to the birds in our yard, but they fly away in fear. ):

Submitted by Jay (not verified) on Sat, 02/27/2021 - 08:33 AM

In reply to by Rich Gargiulo (not verified)


linda, Perhaps the eager birds fly off because your words have been so stirring. After all, when one finds a message of great value, one cannot keep it secret!

Submitted by linda (not verified) on Fri, 02/26/2021 - 09:46 AM


They are not flying away in fear, they are flying away to tell their friends what a great conversation they had with you.

Submitted by Jerry (not verified) on Fri, 02/26/2021 - 11:09 AM


Franciscan Media gives me some spiritual support every day, especially this past year, but I can't seem to forgive myself, let alone except the forgiveness of our Lord Jesus... which makes me afraid that I'm not doing enough to repent for my sins, great or small. I pray for the true Peace of Christ daily for all of us. Please pray for me, too. God Bless.

What else would you have Christ do for you? He loves you forgives you redeemed you by living perfectly and dying in your place and mine..he already did the work for you...forgives and acceptance is yours...none of us deserve it..not one...he took our punishment...recieve it in faith in Him...grace

Submitted by Rita (not verified) on Fri, 02/26/2021 - 04:26 PM


From when i was very little ive had great fear of dogs & all animals. But one day i started praying to st francis to help me accept my daughter's puppy into our home because her health depended upon it. Not only did st Francis deliver, he got God to cure me of my fear! Eventually we 3 pups & i loved them all! My friends were amazed! They didn't know who i was ! They no longer had to tie up or confine their pups... i no longer screamed in fear. I was petting & loving their animals as if i never were afraid. That was in 2003 and im still over the moon for cute dogs!

Submitted by AlmaN (not verified) on Sat, 02/27/2021 - 07:39 PM


My Mom passed on September 30,2019. I stayed for several weeks to clear out her belongings. After my returned home, a beautiful red cardinal appeared in my breezeway. Little messengers! I now have a birdhouse with food where he can lodge. He is here tonight! Such beautiful gifts from God!

Submitted by Carole Hemphill (not verified) on Sun, 02/28/2021 - 10:15 PM


I have lived in Alaska since 1959. I appreciate the beauty of wolves and recognize their importance in the food chain in the northern hemisphere. But they will always be true to their instincts. Too bad St. Francis wasn't here to save the lives of people who have been attacked. I love St. Francis and have a small shrine with his statue on a spruce tree at my summer place in Lake Clark National Park. I asked him and prayed for him to protect my property from grizzly bears. I must not have prayed hard enough. He can't answer all prayers with a yes nor can our heavenly father. The main thing we must remember is that God loves us.

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