In 1972, I watched a movie called: ‘Brother Sun, sister Moon”.I will never forget this movie! This movie is a dramatization of the events in the life of St. Francis of Assisi starting before his experience with his visit with the Pope.
He was born in Italy in 1181. His young life started out in richness and luxury as the spoiled son of a wealthy textile merchant who own farmland in Assisi. In 1202 during the war between Assisi and Perugia, Francesco went to war not knowing how this horrifying experience would dramatically change his life forever. Since he was dressed like an aristocrat with expensive new armor, he was not killed like most of the others but captured by the soldiers for a ransom. He lived almost a year in miserable conditions while waiting for his father’s payment. During this time he contracted some serious illness and after a year of negotiations he was finally released to his home. He was a changed man, seriously ill and affected by the war. He was about 20 years old then when he began his spiritual journey, spending a lot of time in churches and nature, praying, searching for answers and helping the lepers.
Another crucial moment in his life followed when in order to raise money to rebuild a Christian Church he sold a bolt of cloth from his father’s business as well as his horse. His father was enraged and took Francis to see the local Bishop who told Francis to return his father’s money. Francis reacted by returning the money to his father and stripping of all of his clothes declaring that God was now the only father he recognized from now on. This was his final conversion. Francis embraced living in Christ-like poverty which at the time was an extreme radical view since the Christian Church was extremely rich and wealthy. Francis was concerned about this and he set on a mission to restore Jesus values and his message spread quickly and widely gaining thousands of followers.
In 1224, he was the first person to receive the markings of the stigmata which remained with him for the rest of his life. He died in 1226 at the age of 44 in Assisi and he was canonized a saint 2 years later by Pope Gregory IX. He is the Patron for ecologists honoring his endless love for animals and nature.
The Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy 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.
O divine Master, 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;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.
Saint Francis (Bernadone) de Assisi
A&E Television Networks . 2016. St. Francis of Assisi bio. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.biography.com/people/st-francis-of-assisi-21152679#devotion-to-christianity. [Accessed 1 June 2016].
YOU TUBE. 2016. A&E Television Networks . 2016. St. Francis of Assisi bio. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.biography.com/people/st-francis-of-assisi-21152679#devotion-to-christianity. [Accessed 1 June 2016].. [ONLINE] Available at: https://youtu.be/rG5jVcYA1aM. [Accessed 1 June 2016]