Skip to comments.Francis of Assisi: Pattern for Lay Holiness
Posted on 10/04/2012 7:10:51 AM PDT by marshmallow
For over 100 years, there has been a veritable Francis industry, going well beyond the plastic kitsch in Assisi gift shop windows (after all, no one can capitalize on poverty like a Minorite!). For that whole period of time, people have been making and remaking Giovanni Francesco di Pietro Bernardone to fit their own images of what they think he was really about. From the neutered figure made appealing to agnostic Victorians and gardening aficionados, to Francis the PETA activist, the poor man of Assisi has been made poorer in the process. We have had Francis the Socialist Hippie, with the twentieth-century made-for-acoustic-guitar Peace Prayer put in his mouth. (It originated in 1912.) Some have even argued for Francis the Capitalist and Francis the Feminist. On a more scholarly plane, we have Paul Sabatiers classic portrait: man thumbing his nose at the institutional Churcha perennially popular riff, especially among intellectuals. Everyone has their own Francis, but few pay attention to the man himself.
In all this the historical Francis suffers: the conflicted, erratic Umbrian, the product of the Italian commune of Assisi, the man of penance, the faithful, if often perplexed, son of the Church. In truth this remaking of Francis is not merely recent. After his death, his order nearly tore itself to pieces in internal conflicts in the late 1200s over issues which had never been problematic to Francis. Each side, Spiritual and Conventual attempted to make Francis fit their conceptions of the religious life. The struggle for Francis is not new.
This is where the new biography of Francis by Augustine Thompson, O.P. (recently reviewed by our own Christopher Blum) comes in so handy. Thompson is a specialist in Italian medieval history, and he is right to attempt to situate Francis in his own space and.....
(Excerpt) Read more at crisismagazine.com ...
St. Francis was always my favorite saint as a child because of the legend of his love of animals.
I did not know that the “instrument of peace” prayer was not really his.
“Smear the walls with meat” is one quote I won’t soon forget.
Bump for later
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Saint Francis was born in Assisi, Italy in 1182. He lived and preached a life of poverty and love of God to all men. He founded the religious Order of the Franciscans; with St. Clare, he founded the Order of the Poor Clares; and the Third Order for lay people. He died in 1226.