Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday FIve: Saint Francis Day

Sally from RevGalBlogPals writes:

Today is the day that we remember and celebrate the life of St Francis of Assisi, here is a description of his early life:

Often named the Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment, there is much more to St Francis:

Saint Francis is called the little poor man of Assisi. He was born in the year 1182 in the town of Assisi in Italy. His father's name was Bernadone. Bernadone was a very wealthy merchant of Assisi. Francis was a very good-looking boy. He was merry and soft-hearted. So he had many friends. All the noble men's sons were his companions.

Francis was brought up in luxury and gaiety. He spent a considerable portion of his wealth in extravagant pleasures. He used to drink with the young princes of the land.

One day Francis was joking and laughing with his friends. A beggar came along crying for alms. Francis, who was soft-hearted, gave whatever he had in his pocket to the beggar. His companions mocked at him for his charitable act. Dispassion dawned in his heart. The sight of the beggar set him thinking about the poverty and misery of mundane life. He gave much money to the poor. His father thought that Francis was wasting his money and rebuked him.

Sometime after this, Francis was laid up in bed for many months on account of some serious disease. He was about to die. But the Lord saved him as he had to carry out a definite mission in his life. The nature of Francis was entirely changed. Francis prayed to the Lord for light and guidance as to his future. He had a vision of Lord Jesus. He made a strong determination to renounce his old way of living to tread a life of purity and to dedicate his life to the service of humanity.

As soon as Francis got well, he informed his parents of his determination. They were disappointed. They became angry with Francis. Francis gave up his old ways and habits and set up to serve God. He distributed clothes, goods and money to the poor. His father was very much annoyed towards his son. He said, "Is this the gratitude you show to me ? I laboured hard and amassed wealth. You are lavishly wasting it on these miserable wretches".

Francis' friends mocked at him and teased him. His father turned him out of the house. Francis lived like a beggar. His old friends even pelted him with stones and mud. He bore everything with patience. He wore a coarse dress and ate simple food.

Francis went on to travel from village to village preaching the love of God. He invited people to join him in his life of service if they were willing. Bernard, a rich man of Assisi, was very much attracted by the saintliness of Francis. He joined Francis. He was the first follower of Francis. He placed all his wealth at the altar of God. Eleven others also joined Francis. They distributed all their wealth to the poor. Francis and his followers went all over Italy preaching, teaching, healing and blessing wherever they went.

The gospel of kindness and love of Francis soon spread all over Europe and earned for him the name of St. Francis. People called him the little poor man of Assisi. He lived for ever in the hearts of all men.

St. Francis collected many followers and founded the Order of Mendicant Friars or Franciscans. The members of this Order have to take a vow of poverty, chastity, love and obedience.
St. Francis gave up his mortal coil in 1228.

I would like to dedicate this Friday Five to St Francis of Assisi.

HERE are Sally's questions....

1. Saint Francis experienced a life changing call, has anything in your journey so far challenged you to alter your lifestyle?

Probably I spend a LEETLE more time thinking about what I look like and how I'm dressed. I consider how grubby I can be when meeting someone for coffee or an appointment. PeaceBang has changed my perspective on this forever. A big MUAH! to PeaceBang...

2. Francis experienced mocking and persecution, quite often in the comfortable west this is far from our experience. If you have experienced something like this how do you deal with it, if not how does it challenge you to pray for those whose experience is daily persecution?
I do not think Christians in the US are "persecuted" for our beliefs. We might be made fun of (because of televangelists or presidents of Christian academia who say stooopid things) but we are not persecuted! Inconvenienced? maybe.

I have a personal prayer commitment for the Persecuted Church. It has made me stop and consider how blessed we are, and how much we have in terms of access and freedoms! (If you don't have the materials, you can get really good ones at the IDOP website. BTW - the international day of prayer for the Persecuted Church is November 9th...

3 .St Francis had female counterpart in St Clare, she was influenced by St Francis sermon and went on to found the Poor Clare's, like the Franciscans they depended on alms this was unheard of for women in that time, but she persisted and gained permission to found the order. How important are role models like St Clare to you? Do you have a particular female role model whose courage and dedication inspires you? If so share their story....
There are several role models for me in women pastors who have broken the mold, so to speak. She has shown by example that the way of Christ (for any pastor) is one of perseverance. Right now, Ruth is a huge example to me of trusting God -- She is an Episcopal priest caught in the kerfuffle of diocesan politics... I find her to be wise, encouraging and challenges me to rest and trust in all of God's Providence for my life, work, ministry and family.

4. Francis loved nature and animals, how important is an expressed love of the created world to the Christian message today?
We only get one Earth. God charged us with being its caretakers. I believe that we are in disobedience if we do NOT take the environmental needs and abuses around us seriously!

5. On a lighter note; have you ever led a service of blessing for animals, or a pet service, was it a success, did you enjoy it, and would you do it again?
Can't say I have ever helped lead one. We happened on one at a local Episcopal church several years ago, and it was amusing to watch the dog/cat/bunny owners try to keep their pets from scaring/tasting/attacking each other...


1 comment:

Sally said...

Love this Deb- and thanks for the introduction to Peacebang.... I think I need to take note!!!