Hello my young friends,
Happy Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, probably one of the best known of all the saints. Even Pope Francis thought so and shared at the time of his election he chose the name because “Francis was a man of peace, a man of poverty, a man who loved and protected creation.” So besides what the pope shared, what else do we know about Francis of Assisi?
Francis was born into a wealthy family and from an early age he lived a privileged life. But Francis wanted more than wealth and privilege, Francis wanted to be a knight. He got his chance when Assisi declared war on their longtime enemy, the nearby town of Perugia. Francis fought in two wars, one in Assisi, and the other against Perugia, where he was captured and spent over a year as a prisoner of war.
During this time, as he recovered from injuries, he had a conversion experience that included a message from Christ calling him to leave this worldly life. When Francis was released, he began taking his faith very seriously. The Gospels were his law and Jesus Christ his model for loving one another. He dressed in raggedy clothes, and begged for food. He and his followers, preached repentance, purity and peace. His family disapproved of his life, and Francis ultimately renounced his wealth and inheritance, choosing instead to live in poverty.
Francis really felt that nature, all God’s creations, were part of his brotherhood. He called all creatures his “brothers” and “sisters.” He preached to the birds and the animals of the woods, even persuading a wolf to stop attacking people and livestock if the townspeople agreed to feed the wolf. We know Francis for his love of all creation. There is likely no one in history as serious as Francis about imitating the life of Christ.
Today, all of us are being called to walk as disciples of Christ, just as Francis did. As we care for those who are struggling and work to bring them peace, as we meet people exactly where they are and show them the love of Christ and as we protect all of God’s creation, respecting the dignity of all life, we in the Church of Green Bay are sent forth to bring hope, healing, mercy and love to all God’s people.
As always, I hold you and your families in my prayers, and ask you hold me in yours. Happy Fall!