St. Francis of Assisi

Friday I received my EWTN calendar. This beautiful calendar is filled with reminders of the feast days of the saints and holy days that we Catholics celebrate. On October 4th we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi.

If St. Francis were alive today, he would definitely be an ecologist  but his views of the nature were more spiritual than scientific. He viewed everything in creation as a gift from God.

St. Francis was born to a well-to-do family; his father was a cloth merchant who provided the means for Francis to live a carefree life.  As a young man Francis’ heart’s desire was to become a great chivalrous knight, but God had other plans. On his way to battle to join the papal troops he stopped and lodged in the village of  Spoleto. It was there that Francis heard the voice of Christ. The voice questioned him: “Who is more important, the servant or the Master (Christ)?” Francis answered, “the Master.” this encounter changed his life forever. The voice of God instructed him to go back to Assisi. He abandoned his life as a knight, his friends and his family. The major turning point in his life was when he visited the abandoned church of San Damiano in Assisi. As he knelt before the image of Christ crucified, Christ’s lips moved and spoke: “Francis, repair My house which, as you see, is completely in ruins.” Francis did not see the big picture at first. He thought that God wanted him to repair the abandoned church of San Damiano. God wanted him to repair the Catholic Church!

Praying and Fasting

Pam, a good friend of  ours, recently sold her townhouse. Pam was in a quandary about making a decision about whether to move forward to purchase a new home. When these difficult situations surface in my life, I aways pray and go into the Word of God. I usually open the Bible and something pops out at me. To get confirmation, I repeat the same thing going to different parts of the Bible. I told her to pray and go into the Word. I was not surprised when God spoke to her from His Word. The reading  that she received from the Lord was Jeremiah 29:5. God knows the desires of our hearts. He knew Pam wanted a home with a backyard because she wanted to plant a garden. Our friend, filled with joy, signed the papers for her new home the following day.


Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their fruits.
St. Francis’ Prayer and Fasting
St. Francis fasted for 40 days: from August 15th, the Assumption of Mary, through St. Michael’s Feast Day, September 29th. St. Francis was praying and seeking how best to please God. After his fast he opened up the Word of God, and three times he came upon the Passion of Christ. On September 14th, the Feast Day of the Exaltation of the Cross, he beheld a beautiful vision from heaven. St. Bonaventure, a Franciscan and one of the earliest of St. Francis’ biographers, wrote this of St. Francis’ vision:

 “Then one morning about the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, whilst he was passing on the mountainside, Francis saw a Seraph with six fiery wings coming down from the highest point in the heavens. The vision descended swiftly and came to rest in the air near him. Then he saw the image of a Man crucified in the midst of the wings, with His Hands and Feet stretched out and nailed to a cross. Two of the wings were raised above His Head and two were stretched out in flight, whilst the remaining two shielded His Body.”

After this vision St. Francis received the full stigmata, the five wounds of Christ. This ecstasy brought St. Francis deeper into his spiritual calling.  A seraph is a heavenly, human-like creature with wings. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, the seraphim holds the highest order in the celestial hierarchy. They are before the throne of God, forever praising Him. The only Bible reference to the seraphim is in Isaiah 6:1-7.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts!
    All the earth is filled with his glory!”

At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke.

Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar.

He touched my mouth with it. “See,” he said, “now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”


Be Transformed

To be filled with this much holiness is beyond my imagination. St. Francis was transformed into the character of Jesus. His passion and love for the human Christ led him to discover giftings that radically changed his life. He loved with the Passion of Christ. He would never take on the role as a radical environmentalist, but spent his time saving souls. He was the saint who introduced us to the first Nativity by bringing animals to watch over the Christ Child. While his village was being ravaged by wolves eating their chickens and goats, St. Francis spoke to the wolves and cut a deal with them. “The villagers will feed you if you leave their farm animals alone.” This is one of the reasons St. Francis is the patron saint of animals.

Beautiful Assisi

I always get confirmation from the Holy Spirit when choosing a story for this Blog. My friend Fr. Leonard Mary (EWTN) shared a story about St. Francis in his homily this Sunday. St. Francis was doing his gardening when a passerby asked him, “What would you do if Christ returned today?” St. Francis’ reply was simply, “I would continue to do my gardening.” He had a profound appreciation for nature, and this was one of the many ways he communicated with God. St. Francis was filled with the Passion of Christ, and he was given the special gift of love – the same type of love that Jesus has for us.



I love Assisi! You can’t go to Italy without visiting this medieval village. To walk in the holy steps of St. Francis is an experience of a lifetime! It’s been a long time since visiting Assisi, but I plan to be there soon!

My Prayer:

Dear Lord, I pray that You would give us the charisms of St. Francis. May we learn to love as he did. Teach us to appreciate and protect our earth. May we respect all living and breathing beings as St. Francis did. Lord, my prayers remain steadfast; I pray for the healing of Carla, Allie, Ana, Kathy and Mario. Amen!

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