Friday, July 28, 2006

St. Francis of Assisi

After I read the book "My life with the saints", I felt like to know more live stories of some of the saints mentioned in the book. The first book I got from the library is "God's Fool - The life and times of Francis of Assisi". It was written in French @ 1983 and was translated in English @ 1985.

Francis was quite eccentric and extraordinary in his path to sainthood. He was born in a wealthy , middle class family. His father owned a clothier store that had clientele included medieval nobles and knights. Because of his well-to-do, pampered life, his youth and adolescent was filled with comfort and indulgent with wine, women and songs.

The story told of how he had dramatically changed his perspective of life and the world was every bit fascinating. I suspect there was inner transformation taking place gradually that was inconceivable to other people. One day he traveled and stayed overnight in San Damiano church and God spoke to him and asked him to restore the rundown churches. That was the spark that eventually ignited the holy fire of his renunciation of the worldly pursuit.

His vow of poverty, chastity and obedience was quite extreme from our modern measure. But he was a man of action and a man with tremendous faith, he lived by what he preached. All his life he had never wavered from his own harsh discipline.

Most of us have read or heard a famous St. Francis Prayer. Although I do not know it came from St. Francis until I read an article from my
metaphysical study introducing great spiritual teachers.

Peace Prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument for your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving, that we receive,
it is in pardoning, that we are pardoned
and it is in dying, that we are born to eternal life.