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Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Francis: We’re All Sinners

Feb 20, 2021
Lent with St. Francis: We’re All Sinners

Saturday After Ash Wednesday

Isaiah 58:9b–14;
Psalm 86:1–2, 3–4, 5–6;
Luke 5:27–32

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.” —Luke 5:31–32

Francis used this passage from Scripture to rebuke the guardian of one of the houses where the brothers were living. The guardian had driven away a band of thieves from the house and proudly told Francis of his deed.

St. Francis scolded him severely, saying: “You acted in a cruel way, because sinners are led back to God by holy meekness better than by cruel scolding. For our Master Jesus Christ, whose Gospel we have promised to observe, says that the doctor is not needed by those who are well but by the sick, and ‘I have come to call not the just but sinners to penance,’ and therefore He often ate with them. So, since you acted against charity and against the example of Jesus Christ, I order you under holy obedience to take right now this sack of bread and jug of wine which I begged. Go and look carefully for those robbers over the mountains and valleys until you find them. And offer them all this bread and this wine for me. And then kneel down before them and humbly accuse yourself of your sin of cruelty.

We find it difficult to admit when we’re wrong, when we’ve sinned. And it seems the more we try to live good Christian lives, the harder it gets to acknowledge how often we fail. It is that acknowledgment, though, that allows us to find the forgiveness and grace we need to change our lives.


We give you thanks because, having created us through
your Son, by that holy love with which you loved us,
you decreed that he should be born, true God and
true man, of the glorious and ever blessed Virgin Mary
and redeem us from our captivity by the blood of his
passion and death. Amen.

Minute Meditations


Submitted by Regina (not verified) on Sat, 02/20/2021 - 07:55 AM


What a beautiful and appropriate reflection for the age we are living in. Reach out to all those who need to be drawn closer to the Lord.

Submitted by Kate (not verified) on Sat, 02/20/2021 - 08:29 AM


Dear writer: It was difficult for me to read that St Francis “severely scolded “ the guardian for “severely scolding” a thief. I picture Francis gently exhorting or kindly reminding. 🙏🏻

Submitted by Greg Kratofil (not verified) on Sat, 02/20/2021 - 11:38 AM

In reply to by Kate (not verified)


I thought the same when I read the reflection - I was hoping toward the end it would acknowledge that St. Francis himself was in need of and received admonition from someone. Peace

Submitted by Sandra (not verified) on Sat, 02/20/2021 - 10:33 AM


Lest we get carried away with the reflection and loose sight of the biblical passage, we might want to ponder more deeply on it and less on the Reflection for our times.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 02/20/2021 - 10:57 AM


Francis, true follower of Christ, knows the way, shows the way. May I always try to be like him.

Submitted by Cheryl M Burton (not verified) on Sat, 02/20/2021 - 11:59 AM


I like the account also about how St Anthony handled the brother who left the Monastery and stole St Anthony's beautiful Holy Bible. St Anthony being called the gentlest of Saints handled the thief just that way when he returned with his book. St Francis though was never given a title of gentle that I know of. St Francis had been a person of the world and understood when the world was trying to creep back into a soul. So in turn St Francis used the scolding method of a person of the world (such as Jesus calling Peter "Satan"), and was cruel in return. Satan knows he is eternally condemned. There is no redemption for him to work for, and Jesus would not waste his time telling Satan that he had to worship/serve his God only if he did not cause fear in Satan so that he would do it for awhile anyways. Maybe he made him feel as if he would immediately be spending some time in the abyss if he did not do it. There had to be this type of authority in Jesus' voice when he ordered demons to come out of humans with just a word and they obeyed him.

Submitted by Arlene B. Muller (not verified) on Sat, 02/20/2021 - 12:48 PM


Imagine that!! St. Francis scolded a guardian of one of his friaries for severely scolding a band of thieves & for chasing them out of his friary & instructed him to bring bread & wine to them & kneel & apologize!! Very counter cultural & very convicting for us (like myself) who consider thieves the bad people from whom good people need protection & who consider that thieves need to be chastised & shut away from the rest of society! St. Francis said & believed that more souls of sinners are won by meekness.

Submitted by Hank Hohenstein (not verified) on Sat, 02/20/2021 - 12:51 PM


It seems Francis was quite clear on what is sinful. I am not certain what the commentary means by we are all sinners. Greater clarity would be helpful. Do we receive any guidance from John 9:1-4? Love, hank

Submitted by Joyce Blackwell (not verified) on Sat, 02/20/2021 - 01:54 PM


I admit that I was taken aback by Francis' response and never would have compared those thieves to Jesus' encounter with the tax collectors. Yet that is the purpose of recounting this incident to get us to think, ponder and eventually to respond more like Jesus. A "wake-up call" for me. And...I wanted the rest of the story... 1. Were the thieves found? 2. Did they repent? I guess that is not important as this is a lesson for us and we only have control over what we do..not the outcome.

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