The son of a wealthy merchant enjoys a lush and joyful youth. He helps his father a little in the store, he composes songs with his friends. She happily spends time with her peers from Assisi. Father intends to introduce Franciszek to the knighthood, but God has other plans.
Once, when Francis, dressed beautifully, is riding a horse, he sees a leper at the edge of the forest, in ragged clothes, his face terribly disfigured. She throws him a charity and hurries away. On the way, however, he comes to mind : ,,And if it were Christ - maybe He would have blocked my way ?”Then he does the deed, crazy for many of us. He turns out of the way, gets off the horse, walks up to the pauper and kisses him. legend says, that at that moment the beggar was gone.
Young Franciszek returns to his father's house, but more and more he feels the desire to help the poor and needy. He showers his father with pleas for new things for the poor. Angered by this, the father disinherits him in the presence of the bishop. In a sudden burst, Francis leaves everything behind, he even throws off his clothes and calls out to the crowd : ,,So far I have called Piotr Bernardone my father, I will speak now : our father, who art in heaven ". He already knows, what God is calling him to - he will be a "Singer of Lady Poor". How medieval knights have theirs ,,ladies of the heart ", so Francis chooses for such ,,lady "poverty. In imitation of Christ, he becomes the poor and the disinherited.
The Middle Ages are the epoch of all splendor, luxury and moral corruption. Thanks to the Crusades, Europe is getting richer. Collects loot, forgets the Gospel. The church is also rich and opulent. At first, Francis worked in the reconstruction of churches, be with the sick, but he wasn't sure yet, to which Christ ultimately destines him. One day, when he was serving at Mass. in the church of St.. Damiana, he heard words about the mission of the apostles : “Don't get gold, nor silver, nor copper to his purses " (Mt 10, 9). “This is what I want to do !”He exclaimed. He learned his ultimate calling to evangelize the world in poverty, in peace and in love. So he went to the people, how the apostles went, without money, but with love and with God's peace…
In his long journeys all over Italy, he found people longing for a better and more Christian life. Many of them distributed riches to the poor, put on a gray robe girdled with a rope and assisted him in his apostolic work. Francis was now called "father", and his hardworking companions "brothers". They walked around villages and towns, they reminded people of the Gospel that was so often forgotten.
And they tried to follow Christ in everything - especially in his poverty. They did not stockpile any supplies, and they only lived off of it, what people gave them. Their entire lives were faithful to poverty.
Francis did not have great ones, extraordinary plans ahead. However, he wanted to ask the Pope, that he would approve for him and his companions the monastic rule. Zofia Kossak describes it more or less like this in the novel Without the arms : “Ailing Pope Innocent III cannot sleep. He is tormented by concern for the Church of Peter. Suddenly he falls asleep and sees, how the magnificent columns of the Lateran basilica are drawn, the whole church could collapse in a moment. But then a slight figure in a gray cloak appears and leans against a pillar. At this point, the pole begins to straighten, and behind it the whole structure is simple and strong. The Pope wakes up deeply filled. He has numerous audiences during the day. Various dignitaries come. Finally, one of the cardinals reports to the Pope, that some poor man from Assisi, A "lunatic" probably, he wants to ask the Pope to approve his Rule - so unreal - according to the cardinal, that he forbids any property. The cardinal is ready to send the poor man away, but the pope insists : «Go, however enter it ». And entered the little one, inconspicuous, seemed like a little bird, a lost accident here. His brothers remained at the door, watching anxiously. The gulf frightened them, what the majesty of Peter seemed to share from this beggar. Francis approached the throne, he kissed the foot of the Governor dearly, he rose and looked pleadingly into Innocent's face and… he couldn't say anything. - What a simpleton ! One of the cardinals muttered. - Quiet… quietly… look at the Holy Father. The Pope opened his pupils wide and stuck them into the man standing in front of him, almost with horror. Where did he see him? ? - When ? ! She knows this beggar ! It was he who supported Lateran. There is silence. The majesty of Peter and the poor man in the coiled cloak still stand without a word, Opposite each other. Innocent's heart is flooded with so much joy, that it takes his voice away, like Franciszek it is intimidated. So God is with him. The papacy was united with Christ ! Despite the sins and mistakes committed by his servants, Christ watches over the Roman Church ! It gives a visible sign… My son, son - he whispers almost unconscious - bless you and everything, what do you do… and without taking my eyes off the poor man, the pope is reaching for a pen ; at the bottom of the parchment he writes with a trembling hand : We bless and approve, Innocenty III, Servant of the Servants of God… Approved ? Really approved ? Like this ? What happened ? Why approved ? After all, everyone said, that… Our Lord must have told him ?”
The new religious family grew rapidly. Its activities were also aimed at renewing the life of the secular people by the so-called. "Third orders". Today it is the most numerous of all religious families. Thanks to it, the spirit of evangelical poverty is a constant source of spiritual renewal for the faithful.
For the love of poor Jesus, Francis also made missionary trips to France, Spain, Egypt and the Holy Land. He wanted to convert Muslims. But not like that, as did the "crusaders" in their expeditions "with fire and sword". He did not want to use rape or weapons, but by the power of the Gospel, which proclaims peace to all people, it calls for love without any distinction between religions and races, and therefore also for Muslims. For Francis, Muslims were "brothers", which must be brought to know the mystery of Christ, preaching the Gospel by example and word, and most of all love. The motive to love each person was for him this, who said : “Whatever you have done to the smallest of you, You did it to me !”In the name of this love, Francis asked Christians, to replace rape with mildness, that instead of hatred and contempt, they may even have love for their enemies. Furthermore, according to St.. Francis, every Christian should be ready to suffer even martyrdom for the salvation of Muslims, whose souls redeemed with the blood of the Savior were far more expensive than the stone of the Holy Sepulcher.
This mission of St.. Francis was not fully understood at the time. Seven centuries must have passed, from Innocent III to Paul VI, so that the Church understands, that the proclamation of the Gospel with a humble life, full of kindness and gentleness, it will prepare the ground for recognizing the sacrifice of the Son of God. Francis' love was not limited to people. For him, the sun, the stars, moon, water, fire, life and death, they formed a great brotherly community. This is expressed by his famous song to the sun :
“Praised be Lord with all Your creatures, and most of all with our brother the sun, which day gives, and you shine through them…
Through our brother the moon and our star sisters, which you made in the sky bright and dark and beautiful…
Be praised by the wind… air…
clouds… water… fire… night… Earth… Give glory and bless to the Lord and give thanks to Him and serve Him with great humility "
Happy, Francis' sensitive and artistic soul found a reflection of God himself in the beauty of nature. The good one, singing man, whose love enveloped everyone and everything, he moved unrepentant sinners and persuaded people, that the most important thing is to find Christ's Truth. Wherever he appeared, he brought peace and happiness with him.
Holy "Poor Man", who died in 46 age, devoid of everything, it teaches us to suffer, austerities, prayer and love. Today's world cries out for heart and love. Because without love, the world becomes "dead speech", and without a heart, a person's life is empty and cold. St.. Francis - is one of the most popular characters among the heroes of faith ; pattern, who always shines with love.
Also worth reading: St.. Francis of Assisi – curriculum vitae