Feast of St Francis of Assisi
St Francis is one of the greatest saints of the church. He was also an unlikely saint being born into a privileged wealthy family with a good life in front of him. Francis chose to leave all the wealth and privilege behind and live a life of poverty.
He was born in AD1181, into a turbulent Europe that was going through a real identity crisis.
In a small rundown parish church St. Francis embraced this prayer before a crucifix in a little church called San Damiano: "Most high, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart. Instil in me a correct faith, a certain hope and a perfect love; a sense and a knowledge, Lord, so that I may do your holy and true command."
Francis decided to live in absolute poverty and soon he was joined by others. From these humble beginnings the great Franciscan Order was born.
Today we have a pope Francis, who took the name of Francis because his vision is that the church in the modern world should embrace the poverty and simple Christian love of St Francis.
St Francis is often called the saint of humility. In today’s world, humility is seen as a weakness, something to be despised.
Humility is knowing our place before God, knowing that we are created by and for him and that he is Lord of all.
In a world that hates and despises God, such an attitude has no place. But that part of the world that still responds to God knows that humility is real and a virtue.
It was the same at the time of Francis. Human nature never changes!