Wednesday, October 04, 2006

St. Francis of Assisi

JMJ+D

Here is a short excerpt of the greatness of St. Francis:

...But one of the earliest glimpses we have of him shows him as simply selling bales of cloth from a booth in the market; which his mother may or may not have believed to be one of the habits of princes. This first glimpse of the young man in the market is symbolic in more ways than one.

An incident occurred which is perhaps the shortest and sharpest summary that could be given of certain curious things which were a part of his character, long before it was transfigured by transcendental faith.

While he was selling velvet and fine embroideries to some solid merchant of the town a beggar came imploring alms; evidently in a somewhat tactless manner.

It was a rude and simple society and there were no laws to punish a starving man for expressing his need for food, such as have been established in a more humanitarian age; and the lack of any organised police permitted such persons to pester the wealthy without any great danger.

But there was I believe, in many places a local custom of the guild forbidding outsiders to interrupt a fair bargain; and it is possible that some such thing put the mendicant more than normally in the wrong.

Francis had all his life a great liking for people who had been put hopelessly in the wrong. On this occasion he seems to have dealt with the double interview with rather a divided mind; certainly with distraction, possibly with irritation.

Perhaps he was all the more uneasy because of the almost fastidious standard of manners that came to him quite naturally. All are agreed that politeness flowed from him from the first, like one of the public fountains in such a sunny Italian market place. He might have written among his own poems as his own motto that verse of Mr. Belloc's poem--

"Of Courtesy, it is much less

Than courage of heart or holiness
Yet in my walks it seems to me
That the grace of God is in Courtesy."

G.K. Chesterton

Image from here.

2 Comments:

Blogger Moneybags said...

He is one of my favorite saints. May he intercede for us all.

6:19 AM  
Blogger Saint Peter's helpers said...

Amen!

7:07 PM  

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