Francis was one of most free people who has ever lived—internally free, that is. His conversion had its dramatic moments (for example, embracing a leper along the road), but it was an ongoing, progressive opening himself to God’s grace and to the life changes which that grace always sets in motion. Click here to read more.
Francis lived in a very status-conscious society where people frequently felt that their dignity was not being sufficiently respected. It would be nice but untrue to say that such feelings have totally disappeared today. Click here to read more.
Everyone wants greater freedom, right? But what kind of freedom: to dominate and impose one’s will, to crush anyone who doesn’t see things my way? Or freedom to see the interconnections of all creation, especially the people made in the image and likeness or God? Click here to read more.
In his novel David Copperfield, Charles Dickens shows that humility can be easily counterfeited. The character Uriah Heep is extremely proud of being “very ’umble, living with a very ‘umble mother in a very ‘umble house.” Eventually, however, Uriah is exposed as an extremely greedy man. Click here to read more.
Few words compare in power to calling an individual “unrealistic.” In fact, saints are the only genuine realists! Was Saint Francis being more realistic when, as a young man, he was the “life of the party”—thanks to his father’s money—or when Francis was caring for men and women suffering from leprosy? Was he more realistic when he avoided solitude or when he made his peace with it? Click here to read more.
Approximately 100 years after Francis died, Dante Aligheri wrote The Divine Comedy, in which we read, “In his [God’s] will is our peace.” Francis’ strong affirmation of the Trinity is possible only because God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are never in competition with one another.
No one’s goodness takes anything away from the goodness of the other two Persons of the Trinity. Click here to read more.
Francis of Assisi had a great devotion to Mary because he saw in her the model disciple, the person who kept saying throughout her life, “Let it be done to me according to your word.”
Mary knew exactly who she was before God. The truth about her life was never a threat to her, something that needed to be covered up or enhanced. Click here to read more.
Most Christians, and many others, know that Saint Francis called the sun “brother” and the moon and stars “sisters.” These are, however, related to each other and to the rest of creation only through God. They cannot explain themselves. They have no value independent of God. Click here to read more.
I have placed this prayer last because, in a way, it summarizes everything Saint Francis had to say about God.
The philosophers of Francis’ day said that truth, beauty, and goodness are always three facets of the same reality. They are also self-diffusive, incapable of being hoarded to the benefit of one person or group and the detriment of everyone else. Click here to read more.