St. Francis of Assisi: Journeys and Dreams

St. Francis Statue

For Francis, Jesus had been his support, always whispering into his ear, “Francis, little one, never doubt my love. I will never leave you.”

The Journey and the Dream. How they had transformed his life. How they had become entwined with every fiber of his being. He stood atop Mount Subasio and looked long and hard at the city he loved so well, at the plain below, and at the great mountains.

It was as if each little plain had been gathered up and brought to a peak, offering the surrounding countryside to God. From these peaks Francis of Assisi could see the bends of the road that made the Journey difficult and the heavy haze that seemed to settle in on the plain just to blur the Dream and make the mountains disappear in fog.

Standing there on Mount Subasio, the wind biting into his face and cutting through his threadbare tunic, he wondered how he had kept the Dream alive through so much pain and so much terror and difficulty and trouble. He hadn’t, of course: Jesus had. Jesus! How sweet the sound of that name in his heart. Jesus ever at his side, Jesus sending the Dream, making the Journey possible. Francis knew that no one survives on the plain without affection and support. That was the whole point of just about everything he had written for his brothers.

For him, Jesus Himself had been that affection and that support, always whispering into his ear, “Francis, little one, never doubt my love. I will never leave you.” And how faithful Jesus had been!

In the Holy Eucharist, especially, Francis had felt this presence of his Lord. Not only was he nourished by the very body and blood of Jesus, but Jesus’ presence was continued and prolonged in every church where the Sacrament was reserved on the altar. For that reason, Francis had been uncompromising in his insistence that churches always be spotless.

His Lord and King, his Brother and Savior dwelt there in a very special manner. A church was one of the fixed courts of the Lord, and he, as Christ’s knight-errant, wandered about the countryside assuring that no unseemly dirt would ever be found in his Lord’s castle.

The Bread of Life had sustained him on his Journey and the presence of Jesus had kept the Dream alive. Without this faithful being-there of Jesus he could never have survived.

Jesus had not just stood atop Mount Subasio as Francis did now, watching His knight-errant from these invigorating heights. He had left the mountain and joined Francis on the plain. They were fellow travelers on that dusty road, the Lord and his faithful knight. But they never looked like royalty at all. They were actually more like two oxen pulling a cart behind them.

That was the image that came to Francis whenever he heard the Gospel passage, “My yoke is sweet and my burden light.” The yoke was sweet because Francis knew that the ox next to him was the Lord Himself, and the burden was light because they were pulling the Dream. He loved that image. He and Jesus, two humble oxen, and the Dream as light as gossamer floating behind them in a cart made of butterfly wings.

So many would-be knights killed the Dream by trying to pull the cart all by themselves. That made everything cockeyed and clumsy. The yoke on the other side dragged on the ground and you had to lean crazily sideways and the cart tilted on its side, soiling its wings and making the lopsided Dream look silly to everyone. Only two could pull a cart built for two, and no Dream is ever just for you alone. You pull the Dream with someone you love, for Dreams are made for lovers and the Journey keeps them alive.

Prayer of St. Francis

You are the Good,
every good,
the highest good,
the Lord God, living and true.
You are love, charity.
You are wisdom.
You are humility.
You are patience.
You are beauty.
You are safety.
You are rest.
You are joy and gladness.
You are our hope.
You are our justice.
You are temperance.
You are all our treasure overflowing.
You are beauty.
You are meekness.
You are our protector.
You are our guardian and defender.
You are strength.
You are refreshment.
You are our hope.
You are our faith.
You are our charity.
You are all our sweetness.
You are our eternal life,
great and wondrous Lord,
God All-Powerful,
merciful Savior.

New call-to-action

2 thoughts on “St. Francis of Assisi: Journeys and Dreams”

  1. Peace and good to all on this feast day of our Seraphic Father, our dear St Francis. He points us to Jesus in every circumstance and minute of our lives.

  2. What a well-written story. Yes, I can imagine Jesus as my continuous invisible companion as I continue to deal with my own particular life circumstances. Everyone is different, that’s for sure.

    The key to success is authenticity. Everyone has to be themselves sooner or later. We all have our own little vineyard to take care of. So, why do some Catholics become religious or clerics? Who knows? Why choose the Franciscans over the Benedictines? Again, who knows? What will be, will be. One thing is for sure, it was St. Francis’s utter trust in Jesus and the subsequent poverty that gave St. Francis a free hand. St. Francis succeeded in perfecting himself. He became a saint of all things! Can any of us be as much? Will it even matter when all is said and done? If nothing else, at least inherit the kingdom of Heaven.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to St. Anthony Messenger!

Skip to content