Born in 1181 at Assisi, Umbria, Italy as Francis Bernardone son of Pietro Bernadone, a rich cloth merchant. Though he had a good education and became part of his father‘s business, he also had a somewhat misspent youth. Street brawler and some-time soldier. Captured during a conflict between Assisiand Perugia, Italy, he spent over a year as a prisoner of war. During this time he had a conversion experience, including a reported message from Christ calling him to leave this worldly life. Upon release, Francis began taking his faith seriously.
He took the Gospels as the rule of his life, Jesus Christ as his literal example. He dressed in rough clothes, begged for his sustenance, and preached purity and peace. His family disapproved, and his father disinherited him; Francis formally renounced his wealth and inheritance. He visited hospitals, served the sick, preached in the streets, and took all men and women as siblings. He began to attract followers in 1209, and with papal blessing, founded the Franciscans based on a simple statement by Jesus: “Leave all and follow me.” In 1212 Clare of Assisi became his spiritual student, which led to the founding of the Poor Clare’s. Visited and preached to the Saracens. Composed songs and hymns to God and nature. Lived with animals, worked with his hands, cared for lepers, cleaned churches, and sent food to thieves.
While in meditation on Mount Alvernia (also known as Mount La Verna) in the Apennines in September 1224, Francis received the stigmata, which periodically bled during the remaining two years of his life. This miracle has a separate memorial on 17 September.
Francis’ tranitus from this life into eternal life occurred on October 4, 1226 at the Portiuncula that is now housed in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli (Saint Mary of the Angels) a Basilica situated at the foot of the hill of Assisi, Italy. On the 3rd of October each year all of the Franciscan families celebrate the passing of our beloved father in a Transitus Service in his memory.
On July 16, 1228, St. Francis of Assisi was canonized by Pope Gregory IX.
SIGNATURE OF SAN FRANCISCO
What emerges from the writings of St. Francis is an ‘I’ humble and secluded enough to fade into ‘us’ and the whole of humanity, even more, in the chorus of creatures.
Two letters presented together, Chartula of Assisi, and a Letter to Brother Leo that have the only two autographs of Saint Francis. The letter to Chartula is kept in the Chapel of the Relics of the Lower Basilica and the letter to Leo is kept in the Cathedral of Spoleto.
The entire writings of Francis consist of the legislation: Rules and Exhortations; by Prayers and Praises, bringing together the spiritual texts, and finally eleven letters written by Santo, impossible not to remember those sent to St. Anthony and the Rulers of the people.
What emerges from the writings of Francis is an “I” humble and secluded enough to fade into the “we” of all humanity and, even more, into the chorus of the creatures. By autograph texts, however, seems to emerge the willingness to listen, and respect for others.
They reveal a Francis, no if’s and but’s in the goodwill toward each other. What emerges is a stretch of extraordinary inner and outer freedom. It’s funny how the word freedom never appears in the writings, is never publicized, but lived. This is revealed by the words to Leo: “in whatever way seems best to please the Lord God and to follow in his footsteps and his poverty, do so with the blessing of the Lord God and my obedience.”
Here then, is the lyrics by Francis, written in his own hand, “is written to redeem the lost time, to rehabilitate the inflicted pain, to atone for guilt, to ask forgiveness, to compensate someone we robbed of his affections, or by an act of mercy toward you.”
One thing is certain: Francis of Assisi is known by everyone. His writings were translated into all languages from Chinese to Arabic, from Russian to Malagasy. It all started with the desire to live and share the Gospel in defiance of the manners and customs of the time, the habits and customs of the Church. Striving for the first time the language of the people. The 338 code with his “Canticle of the Creatures”, as well as being the foundation of the Italian language is a testimony.
- The First Life of St. Francis by Thomas of Celano
- The Little Flowers of St. Francis
- Of the Sacred and the Holy Stigmata of St. Francis and Certain Considerations Thereon
- Franciscan History (The Franciscan Archive)
- The Writings of Saint Francis of Assisi
- The Words of Sacred Admonition by St. Francis of Assisi
- Canticle of the Creatures – by Saint Francis of Assisi
- The Admonitions of St. Francis
13 sentences of St. Francis of Assisi
1) How happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord Himself says in the Gospel: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (FF 186 ).
2) We love God and adore Him with a pure heart and pure mind (FF 187).
3) We make fruits worthy of repentance. And we love our neighbors as ourselves. And if someone does not want to love them as himself, at least not do them any harm, but do good (FF 190).
4) We therefore do charity and humility and charity, because charity washes the soul from the ugliness of sins (FF 192).
5) We must also fast and abstain from vices and sins and from any excess of food and drink, and be Catholics. We must also frequently visit churches and venerate and use reverence clerics, not so much for themselves, if they are sinners, but for the office and the administration of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, which they sacrifice on the altar and receive and administer to others (FF 193).
6) For the sin of his brother not be angry at him, but him admonish and encourage him with all patience and humility (FF 198).
7) The body is sweet to sin and it is bitter to serve God, for all the bad things, vices and sins come out and carry the heart of men, as the Lord says in the Gospel. And so you do not have nothing, either in this world or the other. You think you have a long vanities of this world, but be deceived (FF 204).
8) Consider and see that the day of death approaches. Therefore I beg you with all the reverence of which I am capable, that because of the care and concerns of this world, that you have, do not want to forget the Lord, nor deviate from its commandments (FF 211).
9) All of humanity, concerned, the whole universe trembles and heaven exults, when on the altar, in the hand of the priest, there is Christ, the Son of the living God. O admirable height and stupendous condescension! O sublime humility! O humble sublimity, that the Lord of the universe, God and Son of God humbles himself to the point of hiding, for our salvation, under an ordinary piece of bread! (FF 221).
10) Brothers, look at the humility of God, and open your hearts before him; Humble yourselves that you may be exalted by Him (FF 221).
11) High, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart. And give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity (FF 276).
12) Holy Humility confounds pride and all men that are in the world (FF 258).
13) The Holy Charity confounds all diabolical temptations and carnal (FF 258).
The Franciscan Peace Greeting
The greeting of peace defines the very identity of Francis, in fact, from the beginning, he and his brothers were involved in preaching peace, to make this a hallmark of their way of life, so that in Rule of 1223 as the “Unapproved” of 1221 appears the admonition of Jesus: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.” Even Thomas of Celano in his first biography (1228-1229) speaks of the young fraternity and Francesco as an ambassador of peace: “In every sermon, before communicating the word of God to the people, Francis wished peace. Obtained in this way often, with the grace of the Lord, to induce the enemies of peace and salvation of his own, to become themselves children of peace and desirous of eternal salvation the valiant soldier of Christ, Francis, passed through towns and villages announcing the kingdom of heaven, preaching peace, teaching the way of salvation and repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
The proclamation of the Gospel to the conversion is combined with the call to peace, a peace that must not only be proclaimed, but first it has to be lived, and this we find him in the Legend of the Three Companions (1276): “The peace you announce with your mouth, is even more abundant in your hearts. No one is provoked to anger or scandal, but all are drawn to peace, goodness, and harmony through your gentleness. This is our vocation: to heal the wounds, heal the fractures, to reclaim the erring.”
In fact, peace was the theme in his preaching. Thomas of Split, which saw Francis preaching in Bologna on August 15, 1222, said that “all the substance of his words was to extinguish enmities and building the foundations of new pacts of peace. His clothing was messy; the person was contemptible, his face without beauty. “The bishop and the mayor of Assisi taught to forgive for the love of God, and, in fact, in the Canticle of the Sun (1225) adds the verse of forgiveness: “Praised be ‘me’ Lord, for those who pardon for Your love.”
For the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, keep peace in ‘ soul and body. “This is the true and perfect joy explains Francis himself in the well-known fable that we could almost gloss with the words of St. Paul in the Letter to the Philippians (4,4-7): “Always be joyful in the Lord always; […] Do not be anxious about anything […] and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When Christ rediscovers man there he finds peace, because He is our peace. They also found that harmony which makes it capable of constant praise and his heart ceases to be an arsenal ready to explode, to become a well of mercy: “Blessed is that servant – says Francesco – who is not proud for the good that the Lord says and works through him, rather than for the good he says and works through another.
If we were to list chronologically episodes that lead us to the origin of peace and good Franciscan we could list the following steps:
- “The Lord revealed to me that I say this greeting” (1208-1210). We find this passage in the Old Testament dated 1226
- “Health and holy peace in the Lord. Be well in the Peter to the Custodians of 1220
- “For the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, keep peace in soul and body”. (1221) 4. “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house’”. Earlier Rule (1221) and Rule (1223)
- “True peace from heaven and sincere love of the Lord”. Letter to the faithful of 1224 the wave of peace and good is a greeting that we do not find in the writings of Francis, but only in the Legend of the Three Companions, not a biography itself, but a re-reading of his human and spiritual experience that comes close to ‘Francesco, man through his emotions and desires. The episode is placed at the beginning of the conversion of the saint. Francesco “inspired by God began to proclaim the perfection of the Gospel, preaching penance to all with simplicity.” At this point enters a character, of which the biographer notes the name, and that pearls streets of Assisi is aimed at all precisely with this greeting: Peace and Good!
How he himself confided later, he had learned by divine revelation this greeting: “The Lord give you peace!”. At the beginning of his sermons, offered to the people this message of peace. Extraordinary fact, that is miraculous, he had, before conversion, a precursor in the announcement of peace, who frequently walked Assisi saluting with the motto: “Peace and good! Peace and bread! “. He then formed the belief that, as John the Forerunner found himself on the sidelines just as Jesus began his mission, so that man, like a second John, preceded Francesco in wishing peace and disappeared after the arrival of the Holy”. Even Benedict XVI during the general audience of 12 October 2005, greeted everyone with “peace and good”. “Benedict XVI continues “We all have a little Franciscan soul’.