Friday, October 4, 2013

Pope Francis on St Francis

St Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

We honor today St Francis of Assisi, the patron of nature, ecology and animals. He was a son of a cloth merchant but stripped naked in front of everyone, giving away all that he possessed and renouncing all that was promised to him, and started a new way of life, a life of poverty, eventually founding the Franciscan order.
In his recent interview to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Pope Francis said this about his namesake: "He's great because he is everything. He is a man who wants to do things, wants to build, he founded an order and its rules, he is an itinerant and a missionary, a poet and a prophet, he is mystical. He found evil in himself and rooted it out. He loved nature, animals, the blade of grass on the lawn and the birds flying in the sky. But above all he loved people, children, old people, women. He is the most shining example of agape, love. Francis wanted a mendicant order and an itinerant one. Missionaries who wanted to meet, listen, talk, help, to spread faith and love. Especially love. And he dreamed of a poor Church that would take care of others, receive material aid and use it to support others, with no concern for itself. 800 years have passed since then and times have changed, but the ideal of a missionary, poor Church is still more than valid. This is still the Church that Jesus and his disciples preached about." 

I will share a few more reflections on St Francis over the coming few weeks.

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