The Feast of St Francis of Assisi
St Francis of Assisi is another one of my favorite saints. His role model for all is a very difficult one. Sometimes when I feel like I am "short changed" in life I turn to him. He lived a life of complete poverty and never wanted for anything more. The people who came in contact with him loved him dearly. He literally gave the clothes from his back to the poor on numerous occasions, and instructed those in his order to do the same. Mortifications were practiced by himself and his friars, and some acts were pretty harsh. If one of the friars did not give of himself completely, St Francis made sure they saw the wrong in what they were doing and had them correct it immediately.
He fasted severely and to the point of harm to his own body. He was in complete union with our Lord. I believe that God spent so much time coming to him and granted him such special graces because of the complete denial of himself and his oblation to God. He was quite an example of humility and meekness. He even carried the same sufferings of Our Lord by beholding the Sacred Stigmata.
This way of life for us is almost unheard of, and yet it really is truly the way to follow and become as close as we can to Christ.
Among one of his avid followers was St. Clare who took a vow of poverty as well, and an order was formed called the "Poor Ladies" now know as the "Poor Clares". This order of religious followed the same vows that the friars did in following the way of St Francis.
St Francis' influence is still being practiced today and the story of his life is worth while reading. The book "Little Flowers of St Francis", by St Bonaventure, describes his spirituality and his encounters in life. His life was truly an ultimate sacrifice. He is also known as the patron saint of animals and the enviroment.
I would like to end this article with the Prayer of St Francis, which is one of my favorites. The author of this prayer has published it anonymously. It has been said that it's author may have been a French priest.
Lord make me a channel of your 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;
and where there is sadness, joy
Oh 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 with all your soul;
for it is in giving, that we receive;
and in pardoning, that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying, that we are born to eternal life