Today marks the celebration of a great man in human history, one who is often depicted in gardens, near bird baths, welcoming natures critters. Nearly eight hundred years ago the world was privy to host a soul by the name of St Francis, who was one of the first to speak out against capitalism and to walk away from the material life in search for something he thought to be greater and nearer to the truth of his soul. St Francis of Assisi is honored today, though his life seems to be a paradox when juxtaposed to society today.
St Francis grew up a wealthy boy with a silk merchant for a father, though he was more inclined towards those who had nothing. After spending time with people in need, the beggars on the street, he abandoned his fathers wares in order to help the unfortunate. St Francis felt contrary to war and even tried to persuade the Sultan in Egypt to stop the crusades. He was against capitalism and even admonished the church for not reflecting the nature of God as he felt it to be spoken through Jesus.
In a world steeped with war, the right to bear arms, consumerism, and churches built up with teachings that do not always reflect clearly in the lives of their followers, to celebrate St Francis of Assisi today does indeed seem to be a paradox for society as we know it. Though many have passed his life off as being one who loved the animals and was kind to nature, St. Francis represents so much more. If we were to really take a look into his life it would be clear that eight hundred years ago he was faced with the same sort of issues that each of us face today. He was a pioneer in his day and felt no wrong about stripping himself from the society around him to walk naked into the world he wished to inhabit. He spent much of his life around those who needed care, such as lepers and the poor. How many of us today would happily walk away from our riches and clothing to sit with the sick and mingle with the birds?
Over time, he took to reconstructing fallen church spaces and eventually had an order named after him without ever officially becoming a priest. St Francis of Assisi lived by his own faith and inner alignment to the truth as he knew it, and followed no other authority for permission to do so. Though we see his image standing in robes with squirrels and birds perched upon his arm, frozen in gardens and manicured front lawns everywhere, it would serve his memory well to remember the full story and symbolism of who St Francis really was.
As a paradox to society today, St Francis of Assisi stands as a reminder of what humanity is capable of when choosing not to follow the status quo. Though he is venerated as a Saint, a title to which many believe they cannot easily aspire, he was also a simple, ordinary man wishing to live in alignment with a higher truth. May he be remembered today and may the light of his life shine a little more in each of us.
Blog By Stasia Bliss