Michael Daly CJ Blog

A Companion of Jesus

St Francis of Assisi. – Transitus and Feast Day. 3rd and 4th October

To celebrate the ‘Companions of Jesus’ 5th Anniversary, which falls on the 4th of October, I thought I’d write a few lines about Francis of Assisi, whose calling is shared by all Companions and all Franciscans worldwide. May all Franciscans be blessed today, tomorrow and always, in knowing the love of their Saviour, Jesus Christ, who pursued, led and inspired Francis and who today still calls sisters and brothers to follow Him in filial charity.

A short note on the life of Francis of Assisi

Giovanni Bernardino was born around 1181 or 1182 to respectable parents. His father, Pietro, was a merchant of fine linen and called his son ‘Francisco’ (Francis), as he loved France and had married a French girl, Pica Bourlemont. When Giovanni was born, his father was away from home in his beloved France.

Francis as far as we know, grew up with no real financial worries. He became a soldier around his early twenties, and went to fight the Perugians in 1201. He was captured and spent a year in prison, where he contracted a fever and had a dream, which seemed to speak about his life and his future. It was whilst in this confinement that he had time to think and pray and probably it was here that the Lord Jesus led him to see that worldly riches did not bring happiness but could imprison more than his cell did.However he returned to his former life in Assisi, albeit a slightly quieter and more contemplative young man and was set to go and enlist again in the military, but suffered another bout of fever. Again in another dream he was called back to Assisi

On his return to Assisi, he gave up his fine clothes for a poor mans rough robe and cut himself off from his parents, who thought he had gone mad. He sought to live a life of simplicity following the gospel of Jesus Christ, embracing a life of poverty.

When praying before a crucifix in the rather derelict chapel of St Damian on the outskirts of Assisi, he heard the Lord speak to him saying, “Go and repair my house, which, as you see, is falling into ruin”. Francis took this literally to mean the stone building he was in, rather than the the living house of the Roman Catholic Church and so he set about repairing it. He cut himself off from his parents and friends and took up a life as a mendicant. Soon after he gathered a group around him who later became known as little brothers of Friars Minor. They lived in community, living a simple life, following the gospel.

Unfortunately, the Church at that time, after some papal consternation, gave Francis and his brothers Religious standing and the simplicity of the original vision of Francis, soon got lost under the power pressure of hierarchical organisational Church politics.

On 3rd October 1226, Francis died just outside the Portiuncula Chapel, (Little Portion) which today is about a 20-minute bus ride from the town walls of Assisi.

However, even though the original vision to repair the brokenness of the Body of Christ was not fully grasped, the Franciscan family, (even with divisions within the Order), went on to be one of the great instruments and channels of God’s peace and has to this day been bringing healing to the broken lives of many of God’s children throughout the world. Their evangelical and missionary activities continue within the different Franciscan communities worldwide.

Michael Daly CJ
Living Loved
3rd October 2009

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October 3, 2009 - Posted by | Thoughts

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