St. Francis of Assisi
1181 – 1226
Contributed by http://www.peacemakersguide.org/
|Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally–not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a mite of self-importance.
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love:
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
For it is in giving that we receive,
St Francis , being enlightened and in tune with the sacred wisdom, was a vegetarian who worshipped all the living as sacred and likewise, the living responded! Here are two stories of him-
In one famous story, Francis preached to hundreds of birds about being thankful to God for their wonderful clothes, for their independence, and for God’s care. The story tells us the birds stood still as he walked among him, only flying off when he said they could leave.
Another famous story involves a wolf that had been eating human beings. Francis intervened when the town wanted to kill the wolf and talked the wolf into never killing again. The wolf became a pet of the townspeople who made sure that he always had plenty to eat.
Just like the Siddhars, St Francis did not like organizations, including his own. Francis never wanted to found a religious order — this former knight thought that sounded too military. He thought of what he was doing as expressing God’s brotherhood. His companions came from all walks of life, from fields and towns, nobility and common people, universities, the Church, and the merchant class. Francis practiced true equality by showing honor, respect, and love to every person whether they were beggar or pope.