Saint Francis of Assisi’s beliefs and teachings continue to shape the world almost 800 years after his death. His impact has spanned eight centuries and continues to make a difference every day as Franciscan Fathers, dedicated charities like FFHL and individuals pledge their service to the Lord. With the celebration of his feast on October 4, let us reflect on three lessons we can learn from Saint Francis of Assisi.
Look at the World with a Fresh Perspective
When Saint Francis of Assisi first turned his life over to God, the Christian Church was a very wealthy entity. Devoting his life to Christ in the traditional way at that time would have allowed him to live quite comfortably. Instead, Saint Francis chose to take the Gospel literally and led a life of poverty in the name of the Lord. By determining what was right for his own relationship with God, Saint Francis inspired others and spread the Word throughout the world.
“If God can work through me, he can work through anyone.” – Saint Francis of Assisi
Assist those that Suffer
One day during Francis’ early devotions to God, he came across a leper while he was riding his horse. The young Francis would have looked down in disgust and rode on, the Francis who was dedicating his life to God stopped and dismounted his horse. Francis gave the leper a coin and kissed his hand, and then received a kiss in return. He felt filled by God’s grace and a few days later visited the hospice of lepers bringing monetary donations and served them with humility.
“Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these, they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve.” – Saint Francis of Assisi
Preach Peace in a Land of Violence
At one point, Saint Francis wanted to be known for his conquests on the battlefield. Then God spoke, and Francis rode away from battle and started his relationship with Christ. Saint Francis experienced violence and its consequences, and decided to preach peace and love in the name of the Lord. Upon his first visit to the Holy Land, Saint Francis entered an area of strife; however, he did not encourage the conflict between religions and aimed to bring peace to the land. He knew that despite differences, individuals can find common ground in God.
“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” – Saint Francis of Assisi
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