Quinteror Essay Two
When you think of “Francis of Assisi”, the first thing that comes to mind is a gentle saint who was an environmentalist who tamed wolves. In this essay, I will discuss who Francis of Assisi was and how he actively performs the gospel life. I will also talk about what it means for him and for his understandings about Christianity and what some of his most significant accomplishments and insights were.
In Assisi, Italy in 1182, Pietro and Pica Bernardone had a male child named Francis of Assisi. His father was known as a wealthy silk merchant. Growing up, Francis had little education and was a troubled youth. At the age of 20, he became a young soldier. He marched off into battle against the city of Perugia. During this time, he was taken prisoner and held in a Perugian prison. He spent a year in the prison before his father was able to arrange ransom.
After becoming seriously ill, he experienced a vision of Christ at Spoleto. He then experiences another vision when he returned to Assisi, which changed his life forever. Despite his wealthy life, he had choose to live in poverty. His father became very upset and was talking about disowning him. He decided to return everything to his father that he had taken and cut ties with him. By begging for his townsmen, he was able to rebuild San Damiano Church. Francis had total trust with God, for him, it was not someone to be feared but someone to be close by like a father figure to all his children. He believed that anyone who expected the gospel life accepts the commission from God continually to bring forth Christ into our world. Due to Francis looking around and seeing Christians had become apathetic. He decided to found a new order in the Church. Francis gathered followers and commissioned them to preach the gospel and to witness to it in action. His called his followers, “Order of Friars Minor or Franciscans”. Soon, his brothers grew in numbers and they were making trips to France, Spain, and other places in order to preaching the message of repentance, gospel simplicity, and radical obedience to Christ’s teaching. Women were fascinated by Francis’s message and he later received a rich young woman of Assisi whose name was Clare. Soon the “Second Order of Franciscans’ was founded, known as Poor Clares. There was a Third Order, which was for those who lead their secular lives while trying to live by a modified Franciscan rule.
Three are two significant accomplishments that I would like to discuss in this easy. First, Francis was famous for his love of all creation. The legend of Saint Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio became famously known. There was a town in Italy called Gubbio where the villager’s livestock were being eaten and some of the villagers were getting attacked. After the mayor consulted with his advisors, they asked if Francis of Assisi could help them. Once Francis came to the town, the next morning he went out looking for the wolf. Once he approached the wolf, it felt like there was a connection between the two. He made the sign of the cross and called the wolf to meet him in peace under the grace of the Lord. After the wolf felt that Francis was no harm to him, he walked with Francis back to the town. They had a long conversation but ended up going back to the town. The villagers could not believe their eyes. After a long debate, the villagers decided to take Francis’s deal and allow the wolf to stay as long as he did not harm anyone or kill any more livestock and that they would make sure he was fed. Second, during his wandering all over Italy, Francis eventually crossed the Mediterranean and attempted to convert the Egypt’s Sultan Malik al-Kamil to Christianity. His goal was to end the violence of the Crusade by converting a Muslim Sultan to Christianity (Moses, 2009).The sultan was unconvinced by the message but so impressed by the messenger that he afforded him safe passage back home.
The figure of Francis of Assisi has always captured the imaginations of people from all walks of life. For example, Muslims, Royalty, rich and poor, workers, to name a few, have changed their war of living in order to become Christians. After Francis’s death, the Franciscans continued to grow. In the Legacy of Francis in the modern world, Franciscans today provide services for those in need, self giving, a life of simplicity, and being the presence of Christ to others.
Cory, A., Catherine ; Hollerich, J., Michael (2009). The Christian Theological Tradition (Third Ed.). London and New York: Routedge, Taylor ; Francis Group.
Francis of Assisi PowerPoint (2018). His life and Influence: Performing the Gospel. Retrieved from https://learn.briarcliff.edu/d2l/le/content/20963/fullscreen/251946/View
Francis and the Sultan PowerPoint (2018). An Ecumenical take on a historic event: The Legacy of Francis in the modern world. Retrieved from https://learn.briarcliff.edu/d2l/le/content/20963/fullscreen/251947/View
Moses, Paul (2009). Mission Improbable: St. Francis ; the Sultan. Brooklyn College/CUNY, Doubleday Religion. Retrieved from, https://learn.briarcliff.edu/d2l/le/content/20963/fullscreen/251915/View