Today, October 4, is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. So much has been written and said about this great saint, that it seems impossible to be able to contribute anything more.
St. Francis is the most "popular" saint in the Church, if any can or should be called such. The religious order(s) he founded went on to become the largest in the history of the Church. St. Francis' impact on the Church, and on the world, has been enormous. Beyond all the over-sentimentalization of this truly holy man, the garden statues, the "nature-lover" moniker, the stories of preaching to the birds and making friends with wolves, is a simple and profound witness to Christ, above all else. After his conversion, St. Francis truly strove to imitate Christ in his own life, in everything that he did. In him, we can see that it is possible for a human being to actually do this. Maybe that is why we have come to love him so much.
We want to share this short excerpt with you, in rememberance and honor of St. Francis:
"Many sayings are attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, but were never actually written by him. One of the more famous of these has to do with preaching without words. “Preach the Gospel at all times and, if necessary, use words.” This particular one is actually based on a combination of what St. Francis said and taught.
What St. Francis said about giving good example, and how this was more important that preaching with words, has been distilled from a variety of sources, one of which is from this work:
“The Little Flowers of St. Francis” Chapter 50
At the end of this chapter, St. Francis is quoted to have said:
“But as for me, I desire this privilege from the Lord, that never may I have any privilege from man, except to do reverence to all, and to convert the world by obedience to the Holy Rule* rather by example than by word.”
*"The Holy Rule" is the Rule of St. Francis.
This excerpt is courtesy of the Franciscan Online Archives.
St. Francis, your example and your witness to Our Lord are still with us today. Remember us and pray for us!