St. Francis Of Assisi, St. Francis Of Assisi Prayer, Quotes, Biography
Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone (1181/1182 – October 3, 1226), better known as St. Francis of Assisi, was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. After a restless youth and worldly life, he turned to the religious life of complete poverty, founding a mendicant order of Friars Minor, more commonly known as Franciscans, who renewed Catholicism of his time. His position as one of the great saints of Christianity took hold when he was still alive, and remains unshaken. He was canonized by the Catholic Church less than two years after his death in 1228, and for his appreciation of nature he is known worldwide as the patron saint of animals. St. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.
- Earlier Days of St. Francis of Assisi
- Francis' Conversion
- The Franciscan Order
- The Acts of Francis
- The Faith of Saint Francis
- The Stigmata of St. Francis
- Francis' Illness
- Novena to Saint Francis of Assisi
- St George
- St. Francis Xavier
- Miracles of Jesus
- Here I am Lord Lyrics
- Jesus Paid it All Lyrics
- Penance Definition
- Celibate Definition
- St. Jude Prayer
- Prayer Quotes
- Best Quotes Ever
- St Augustine of Hippo
- Jesse Duplantis
- St. Francis Statue
Of the various sources dealing with Francis' life, the earliest biography is the First Life of Saint Francis written by Thomas of Celano. It was commissioned by pope Gregory IX and was completed by 1230, just four years after Francis' death and two years after his canonization. Later, in 1244, the minister general of the Franciscan order asked all the brothers to submit any additional information about Francis they might have. Using this material, Celano produced another work which, although usually called his Second Life of Saint Francis, is really more of a supplement to the first. It was completed by the middle of 1247.
Celano's work has the advantage of having been written by an early member of the Franciscan order who could rely on personal experience and the testimony of Francis' close companions. We join Celano at a critical point in Francis' life. The year is 1205. Since returning the previous year from an abortive attempt to win military glory in southern Italy, Francis has been aware that something important is going on within him.
Earlier Days of St. Francis of Assisi
... Shortly thereafter, Francis took the fateful step that led to a break with his father.
Behold, the blessed servant of the most high was so disposed and strengthened by the holy spirit that the time had come for him to follow the blessed impulse of his soul, progressing to higher things and trampling worldly interests underfoot. It was unwise to delay any longer, for a deadly illness was spreading everywhere. It seized the joints and, if the physician delayed even for a bit, it shut off the vital spirit and snatched away life.
Francis rose, fortifying himself with the sign of the cross, and when his horse was ready he mounted. Taking some fine cloth with him, he rode to the city of Foligno. There, being a successful merchant, he sold all his cloth as usual and even left behind the horse he was riding, having received a good price for it. Then, having left all his baggage behind. he started back, wondering as he traveled what he should do with the money.
Francis, stubbornly insistent, tried to prove he was sincere. He begged the priest to let him stay there for the sake of the lord. Finally the priest agreed that he could stay but, fearing Francis' parents, he would not accept the money. Francis, genuinely contemptuous of money, threw it on a window sill, treating it as if it were dust. He wanted to possess wisdom, which is better than gold, and prudence, which is more precious than silver.
... Francis' father reacted predictably. He locked his son up at home, but Francis' mother let him out while Pietro was away on a business trip. Finally, despairing of private solutions, early in 1206 Pietro brought his son before the bishop of Assisi. Francis again proved equal to the occasion. When he had been led before the bishop, Francis neither delayed nor explained himself, but simply stripped off his clothes and threw them aside, giving them back to his father. He did not even keep his trousers, but stood there in front of everyone completely naked. The bishop, sensing his intention and admiring his constancy, rose and wrapped his arms around Francis, covering him with his own robe. He saw clearly that Francis was divinely inspired and that his action contained a mystery. Thus he became Francis' helper, cherishing and comforting him.
One day, however, when the gospel story of Christ sending his disciples to preach was read in the church, the holy man of God was present and more or less understood the words of the gospel. After mass he humbly asked the priest to explain the gospel to him. He heard that Christ's disciples were supposed to possess neither gold, nor silver, nor money; were to have neither bread nor staff; were to have neither shoes nor two tunics; but were to preach the kingdom of God and penance. When the priest had finished, Francis, rejoicing in the spirit of God, said, "This is what I want! This is what I'm looking for! This is what I want to do from the bottom of my heart!" Thus the holy father, overflowing with joy, hurried to fulfill those healing words, nor did he suffer any delay in carrying out what he had heard. He took off his shoes, tossed away his staff, was satisfied with a single tunic, and exchanged his leather belt for a cord. He made himself a tunic that looked like the cross so that he could beat off the temptations of the devil. It was rough in order to crucify the vices and sins of the flesh. It was poor and mean so that the world would not covet it. With the greatest diligence and reverence he tried to do everything else that he had heard, for he was not a deaf hearer of the gospel but, laudably committing all that he had heard to memory, he diligently attempted to fulfill them to the letter.
The Franciscan Order
Gradually a small group began to form around Francis. In 1209, when it numbered twelve including Francis, the Franciscan order was born. Seeing that the Lord God daily increased their number, Francis wrote simply and in a few words a form of life and rule for himself and his brothers both present and to come. It mainly used the words of the gospel, for the perfection of which alone he yearned. Nevertheless, he did insert a few other things necessary for the pursuit of a holy life. He came to Rome with all his brothers, hoping that Pope Innocent III would confirm what he had written. At that time the venerable bishop of Assisi, Guido, who honored Francis and the brothers and prized them with a special love, also happened to be in Rome. When he saw Francis and his brothers there and did not know the cause, he was very upset, since he feared they were planning to desert their native city, in which God was now doing great things through his servants. He was pleased to have such men in his diocese and relied greatly on their life and manners. Having heard the cause of their visit and understood their plan, he was relieved and promised to give them advice and aid.
Saint Francis also went to the bishop of Sabina, John of Saint Paul, one of the great members of the Roman court who seemed to despise earthly things and love heavenly ones. Receiving Francis with kindness and love, the bishop praised him highly for his request and intention. Since he was a prudent and discreet man, the bishop began to question Francis about many things and tried to convince him that he should try the life of a monk or hermit. Saint Francis humbly refused his advice as well as he could, not because he despised what the bishop suggested but because, impelled by a higher desire, he devoutly wished for something else. The lord bishop marveled at his fervor and, fearing that he might eventually slip back from such high intentions, tried to show him a path that would be easier to follow. Finally, won over by Francis' constancy, the bishop agreed to his petition and attempted to further his plan before the pope.
At that time the church was led by Innocent III, who was famous, very learned, gifted in speech, and burning with zeal for what ever would further the cause of the Christian faith. When he had discovered what these men of God wanted and thought the matter over, he assented to their request and did what had to be done. Exhorting and admonishing them about many things, he blessed Saint Francis and his brothers, saying to them, "Go with the Lord, brothers, and preach penance to all as the Lord will inspire you. Then, when the Lord increases you in number and in grace, return joyously to me. At that time I will concede more to you and commit greater things to you more confidently."
Like other holy men of the time, Francis and his followers practiced mortification of the flesh, not because the body was considered evil - it, too, was created by God - but because in a fallen world it could distract one from higher pursuits. In Francis' case, such mortification was related not only to the cultivation of spiritual experience, or what was known as the contemplative life, but also to the Franciscan emphasis on humility and the equally Franciscan desire to imitate Christ.
The Acts of Francis
... Francis' striking rapport with animals is certainly the best-known and perhaps the most attractive aspect of his legend. At a time when many were joining the brothers, most blessed father Francis was passing through the valley of Spoleto. He came to a certain place near Bevagna, in which a great many birds of various types had congregated, including doves, crows and some others commonly called daws. When he saw them Francis, that most blessed servant of God, being a man of great fervor and very sympathetic toward the lower, irrational creatures, quickly left his companions on the road and ran over to them. When he got there, he saw that they were waiting expectantly and saluted them. Surprised that the birds had not flown away as they normally do, he was filled with joy and humbly begged them to listen to the word of God. Among the things he told them, he said the following: "My brothers the birds, you should love your creator deeply and praise him always. He has given you feathers to wear, wings to fly with, and what ever else you need. He has made you noble among his creatures and given you a dwelling in the pure air. You neither sow nor reap, yet he nevertheless protects and governs you without any anxiety on your part."
One day he came to a town called Alviano to preach the word of God. Ascending to where he could be seen by all, he asked for silence. The people became quiet and waited reverently, but a flock of swallows building nests in that place continued to chatter away, making it impossible for the people to hear. Francis spoke to them, "My sisters the swallows, it's my turn to speak now, because you've already said enough. Listen to the word of God. Stay still and be quiet until it's over." To the people's amazement, the little birds immediately stopped chattering and did not move until Francis had finished preaching. Those who witnessed this sign were filled with wonder and said, "truly this man is holy and a friend of the Most High." Praising and blessing God, they devoutly hurried at least to touch his clothing. And it is marvelous how those irrational creatures recognized his affection for them and sensed his love.
… The people offered him bread to bless, stored it away for a long time, then were cured of various illnesses when they ate it. In their overwhelming faith they often cut off parts of his clothes, so much that he was often left nearly naked. And what is even more marvelous, if the holy father touched some object, it in turn became the means by which health was restored to others. Thus a certain woman from a little town near Arezzo was pregnant, and when it was time for her to deliver she remained in labor for several days in incredible pain, hanging between life and death. Her neighbors and family heard that Saint Francis was to pass that way as he journeyed to a certain hermitage. They waited, but he went by another route. He had gone on horseback because he was ill. When he arrived at his destination, he entrusted the horse to a brother named Peter, who was to bring it back to the man who had loaned it. On his way, Peter passed through the village where the woman lay suffering. When the men of the village saw him, they hurried up to him thinking he was Francis, but they soon learned the truth and were deeply disappointed. Finally they began to ask one another if same thing might be found which Francis had touched with his hand. After searching for a long time, they came upon the reigns of the bridle, which he had held while riding. Removing the bridle from the horse's mouth, they placed the reigns on the woman. Immediately the danger passed. She bore the child safely and joyfully.
The Faith of Saint Francis
His highest intention, greatest desire, and supreme purpose was to observe the holy gospel in and through all things. He wanted to follow the doctrine and walk in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to do so perfectly, with all vigilance, all zeal, complete desire of the mind, complete fervor of the heart. He remembered Christ's words through constant meditation and recalled his actions through wise consideration. The humility of the incarnation and the love of the passion so occupied his memory that he scarcely wished to think of anything else. Hence what he did in the third year before the day of his glorious death, in the town called Greccio, on the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ, should be reverently remembered.
There was in that place a certain man named John, of good reputation and even better life, whom the blessed Francis particularly loved. Noble and honorable in his own land, he had trodden on nobility of the flesh and pursued that of the mind. Around fifteen days before the birthday of Christ Francis sent for this man, as he often did, and said to him, "If you wish to celebrate the approaching feast of the Lord at Greccio, hurry and do what I tell you. I want to do something that will recall the memory of that child who was born in Bethlehem, to see with bodily eyes the inconveniences of his infancy, how he lay in the manger, and how the ox and ass stood by." Upon hearing this, the good and faithful man hurried to prepare all that the holy man had requested.
The day of joy drew near. The brothers were called from their various places. With glad hearts, the men and women of that place prepared, according to their means, candles and torches to light up that night which has illuminated all the days and years with its glittering star. Finally the holy man of God arrived and, finding everything prepared, saw it and rejoiced.
The holy man of God wears a deacon's vestments, for he was indeed a deacon, and he sings the holy gospel with a sonorous voice. And his voice, a sweet voice, a vehement voice, a clear voice, a sonorous voice, invites all to the highest rewards. Then he preaches mellifluously to the people standing about, telling them about the birth of the poor king and the little city of Bethlehem. Often, too, when he wished to mention Jesus Christ, burning with love he called him "the child of Bethlehem," and speaking the word "Bethlehem" or "Jesus," he licked his lips with his tongue, seeming to taste the sweetness of these words.
The gifts of the Almighty are multiplied here and a marvelous vision is seen by a certain virtuous man. For he saw a little child lying lifeless in the manger, and he saw the holy man of God approach and arouse the child as if from a deep sleep. Nor was this an unfitting vision, for in the hearts of many the child Jesus really had been forgotten, but now, by his grace and through his servant Francis, he had been brought back to life and impressed here by loving recollection. Finally the celebration ended and each returned joyfully home.
The hay placed in the manger was kept so that the Lord, multiplying his holy mercy, might bring health to the beasts of burden and other animals. And indeed it happened that many animals throughout the surrounding area were cured of their illnesses by eating this hay. Moreover, women undergoing a long and difficult labor gave birth safely when some of this hay was placed upon them. And a large number of people, male and female alike, with various illnesses, all received the health they desired there. At last a temple of the Lord was consecrated where the manger stood, and over the manger an altar was constructed and a church dedicated in honor of the blessed father Francis, so that, where animals once had eaten hay, henceforth men could gain health in soul and body by eating the flesh of the Lamb without spot or blemish, Jesus Christ our Lord, who through great and indescribable love gave him self to us, living and reigning with the Father and Holy Spirit, God eternally glorious forever and ever, Amen. Alleluia! Alleluia!
The Stigmata of St. Francis
Two years before Francis gave his soul back to heaven, while he was staying in a hermitage called "Alverna" after the place where it was located, he saw in a vision from God a man with six wings like a seraph, standing above him with hands extended and feet together, affixed to a cross. Two wings were raised over his head, two were extended in flight, and two hid his entire body. When the blessed servant of God saw these things he was filled with wonder, but he did not know what the vision meant. He rejoiced greatly in the benign and gracious expression with which he saw himself regarded by the seraph, whose beauty was indescribable; yet he was alarmed by the fact that the seraph was affixed to the cross and was suffering terribly. Thus Francis rose, one might say, sad and happy, joy and grief alternating in him. He wondered anxiously what this vision could mean, and his soul was uneasy as it searched for understanding. And as his understanding sought in vain for an explanation and his heart was filled with perplexity at the great novelty of this vision, the marks of nails began to appear in his hands and feet, just as he had seen them slightly earlier in the crucified man above him.
His hands and feet seemed to be pierced by nails, with the heads of the nails appearing in the palms of his hands and on the upper sides of his feet, the points appearing on the other side. The marks were round on the palm of each hand but elongated on the other side, and small pieces of flesh jutting out from the rest took on the appearance of the nail-ends, bent and driven back. In the same way the marks of nails were impressed on his feet and projected beyond the rest of the flesh. Moreover, his right side had a large wound as if it had been pierced with a spear, and it often bled so that his tunic and trousers were soaked with his sacred blood.
During this period Francis' body began to be beset by more serious illnesses than previously. He suffered frequent illnesses because for many years he had castigated his body perfectly, reducing it to servitude. For during the preceding eighteen years his flesh had scarcely or never found rest, but traveled constantly throughout various wide areas so that the prompt, devout and fervent spirit within him could scatter God's word everywhere.
Novena to Saint Francis of Assisi
obtain for us, we pray, a generous contempt of all things in this world, that we may secure the true and eternal things of heaven.
O glorious Saint Francis, who during the whole course of your life continually wept over the passion of the Redeemer, and labor most zealously for the salvation of souls:
obtain for us, we pray, the grace of weeping continually over those sins by which we have crucified afresh Our Lord Jesus Christ, that we may attain to be of the number of those who shall eternally bless His supreme mercy.
O glorious Saint Francis, who, loving above all things suffering and the cross, merited to bear in your body the miraculous stigmata, by which you became a living image of Jesus Christ crucified:
obtain for us, we pray, the grace to bear in our bodies the mortifications of Christ, that we may merit one day to receive the consolations which are infallibly promised to all those who now weep.
"If we be dead with Christ Jesus, we shall live also with Him, if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." (2nd Timothy 2:11-12)
Pray for us, Saint Francis, that we may obtain the graces and favors we ask for in this novena; pray for us, especially, that we may obtain the grace of perseverance; of a holy death and a happy eternity.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be