Francis of Assisi

Francis of Assisi lived between 1182-1226 and the Italian Founder of the Franciscan Order. Francis is one of the most most popular figures of Christian history. His baptismal name was Giovanni, nicknamed Francesco or Francis. He was first a playboy, a leader in the revelries of his companions, yet possessed a innate refinement, not gross in speech or act. Francis was born in the stony hill-town of Assisi in Umbria in 1181 or 82. His mother, Madonna Pica was gently borne and his father, Pietro Bernadone, was a wealthy merchant.

Much of Bernadone's trade was with France, and his son was born while he was absent in that country, this may be why he is called Francesco "the Frenchman", though his baptismal name was John. It was the age of chivalry, and Francis was thrilled by the songs of the troubadours and the deeds of the knights. After a youth of normal self-indulgence in things of the flesh, he underwent a shattering and restoring religious conversion. The former leader of the smart set of Assisi, the wild youth who had dreamt only of worldly honors took literally the words of the crucifix at St. Damian "Francis, go repair my house, which as you see, is falling completely to ruin." He left his father to rebuild churches. Stripped off his garments. "Hitherto I have called Peter Bernadone father, from now on I say only 'Our Father, who art in Heaven." From then on Francis was completely cut off from his family and began strange new life.

During a trip to Rome, he exchanged his clothes with a beggar and spent the day begging for alms. He roamed the highways, singing God's praise. He then assumed an ascetic life, giving up everything in this world except his love of God and God's creation, men, animals and flowers. He developed a propensity for mysticism and meditation, then began toward renunciation. Confirming his resolve he gathered a number of like-minded friends who took the name "friars minor" or little brothers. For a year Francis and his now numerous companions preached among the peasants, helping them in the fields, and serving the poor and dispossessed in the ghettos of the new urban centers in addition to reviving the art of preaching.

A brief rule which has not been preserved was drawn up, but they were little more than passages from the gospel that Francis read to them, with manual labor, simplicity and poverty. In the summer of 1210 he and some of the others carried it to Rome to obtain the Pope's approbation. Innocent II, listened but hesitated. Later the Pope dreamed he saw Francis propping up the Lateran Church with his shoulders. He was to see Dominic in a similar position 5 years later. The pope orally approved their mission of preaching penitence. With the consent of the local Bishop, Francis and his little band returned to Umbria rejoicing in the spring of the year. Later in the autumn of the same year, Francis resolved to go as a crusader of peace to the Muslims. With a companion he embarked to Syria and was shipwrecked off the Dalmatian coast. The following year Francis preached up and down central Italy. In 1214 he tried again to reach the Muslims, this time by the land route through Spain but taken ill in Spain, again returned to Italy. He preached unmolested, be it noted, in Egypt and Palestine during the fifth Crusade. Finally Francis arrived to the mission of the infidels, the Saracens of Egypt and Syria, embarking with eleven friar. "Sultan!, Sultan!", he cried, "I am sent by the Most High God, to show you and your people the way of salvation by announcing to you the truths of the gospel.. If you and your people will accept the word of God, I will with joy stay with you. If you yet waiver.. build a fire for me and your priests to enter into..." The Sultan replied that he did not think that any of his Imams would dare enter the fire and Francis was escorted back to camp, the Sultan was afraid his men might desert to Christianity.

Francis is one saint in which Protestants and Catholics alike have united in honoring, even non-Christians are attracted by his love for animals, and all created things and by his pacifism. Classic collection of popular legends, the “Little Flowers of St. Francis”, the “Sermon to the Birds”. Francis' love of the poor, of animals and of all nature was inspired by faith and devotion to the risen Christ.

Francis was a mystic and sought truth through inner inspiration and revelation. His quick warm sympathies responded to all that lived. He was reverently in love with all natural phenomena - sun, moon, stars, the trees, air, water, fire, flowers, man, bird and beast and recognized them as his brothers and sisters, they were members of his family and he would talk to them lovingly. His tenderness for and his power over animals were noted again and again. A friend asked if he would marry "I am thinking of taking the most notable, beautiful, rich wife that has ever been seen" meaning Madonna poverty.

For the love of Jesus and so that he might follow His example, Francis declared his wish for a mystical marriage with Lady Poverty. “God has called me by the way of simplicity and humility, and has in truth revealed this way for me and for all who are willing to trust and follow me.” Francis had a vision of a winged seraph, nailed to a cross, flying towards him; he also felt stabs of pain in hands, feet and sides. The vision vanished, and he discovered on his body the stigmata of the risen Christ. Miracles were related of him and a healing ministry began.

Francis' health was growing worse, the stigmata was a source of pain and his eyes were failing. Late in life he would lament his ascetic nature and wished he had taken better care of brother body.
[03, 05, 07, 19, 23, 26, 39, 42, 29, 44, 49, 53, 66, 135, 142]

The Lord has given Christians the grace to reconcile the children to their Fathers

As One Body

  • We prepare for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
  • Harvest the Fruit of the Latter Rain
  • Follow Him as the Army of the Lord into His Glory

Help To Prepare A Holy Bride!

Issue Oriented Discussion Newsletter

Index | Search This Site | Aristide.Org | The Latter Rain | Babylon the Great | The Kingdom | The Nicolaitans | Jezebel
The Baptism With the Holy Ghost | The Grand Delusion | World Trade Org | Liberation Theology | Jay Atkinson | Alphabetical Index