Friday, October 3, 2008

St. Francis Day Friday Five


Sally from over at Revgalblogpals writes:

Today is the day that we remember and celebrate the life of St Francis of Assisi. Here is a description of his early life:Often named the Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment, there is much more to St Francis:Saint Francis is called the little poor man of Assisi. He was born in the year 1182 in the town of Assisi in Italy. His father's name was Bernadone. Bernadone was a very wealthy merchant of Assisi. Francis was a very good-looking boy. He was merry and soft-hearted. So he had many friends. All the noble men's sons were his companions.Francis was brought up in luxury and gaiety. He spent a considerable portion of his wealth in extravagant pleasures. He used to drink with the young princes of the land.

One day Francis was joking and laughing with his friends. A beggar came along crying for alms. Francis, who was soft-hearted, gave whatever he had in his pocket to the beggar. His companions mocked at him for his charitable act. Dispassion dawned in his heart. The sight of the beggar set him thinking about the poverty and misery of mundane life. He gave much money to the poor. His father thought that Francis was wasting his money and rebuked him.

Sometime after this, Francis was laid up in bed for many months on account of some serious disease. He was about to die. But the Lord saved him as he had to carry out a definite mission in his life. The nature of Francis was entirely changed. Francis prayed to the Lord for light and guidance as to his future. He had a vision of Lord Jesus. He made a strong determination to renounce his old way of living to tread a life of purity and to dedicate his life to the service of humanity.

As soon as Francis got well, he informed his parents of his determination. They were disappointed. They became angry with Francis. Francis gave up his old ways and habits and set up to serve God. He distributed clothes, goods and money to the poor. His father was very much annoyed towards his son. He said, "Is this the gratitude you show to me ? I laboured hard and amassed wealth. You are lavishly wasting it on these miserable wretches".Francis' friends mocked at him and teased him. His father turned him out of the house. Francis lived like a beggar. His old friends even pelted him with stones and mud. He bore everything with patience. He wore a coarse dress and ate simple food.Francis went on to travel from village to village preaching the love of God. He invited people to join him in his life of service if they were willing.

Bernard, a rich man of Assisi, was very much attracted by the saintliness of Francis. He joined Francis. He was the first follower of Francis. He placed all his wealth at the altar of God. Eleven others also joined Francis. They distributed all their wealth to the poor. Francis and his followers went all over Italy preaching, teaching, healing and blessing wherever they went.The gospel of kindness and love of Francis soon spread all over Europe and earned for him the name of St. Francis. People called him the little poor man of Assisi. He lived for ever in the hearts of all men.St. Francis collected many followers and founded the Order of Mendicant Friars or Franciscans. The members of this Order have to take a vow of poverty, chastity, love and obedience.St. Francis gave up his mortal coil in 1228.I would like to dedicate this Friday Five to St Francis of Assisi.

1. Saint Francis experienced a life changing call, has anything in your journey so far challenged you to alter your lifestyle?
When I quit my job and went to seminary, I often half-joked that I was becoming downwardly mobile. Though I knew I wanted to study and become a pastor, I had to discipline myself financially in order to be able to stop working full-time. Also, though I can't quite speak about it, my first call in South Dakota meant some life-style change as well. The rural way of life is a different one. There is also the "lifestyle" of a pastor, which has meant going to a new community, one you are not used to, and dwelling there. Also, marriage is a constant life-style change for me, and a challenge sometimes.

2. Francis experienced mocking and persecution, quite often in the comfortable west this is far from our experience. If you have experienced something like this how do you deal with it, if not how does it challenge you to pray for those whose experience is daily persecution?
I don't believe I have really faced persecution. We do support missionaries in Northern India, where Christians are persecuted. I do think we need to be more intentional about remembering those who suffer for their faith.

3 .St Francis had female counterpart in St Clare, she was influenced by St Francis sermon and went on to found the Poor Clare's, like the Franciscans they depended on alms this was unheard of for women in that time, but she persisted and gained permission to found the order. How important are role models like St Clare to you? Do you have a particular female role model whose courage and dedication inspires you? If so share their story....
I have several female role models: both of my grandmothers, my mother who went back to get her college degree when she was forty, and an older woman pastor who led an inner city church. She was one of the first women to become a senior pastor in my denomination. She was also committed to working in the city, serving her community, and empowering her community.

4. Francis loved nature and animals, how important is an expressed love of the created world to the Christian message today?
We are all connected to one another. That's true about people; it's true about the body of Christ, and it's true about the created world as well. We are all connected to one another.

5. On a lighter note; have you ever led a service of blessing for animals, or a pet service, was it a success, did you enjoy it, and would you do it again?

We are having our second annual Animal Blessing Service this Sunday. It was a huge success.


15 comments:

Sally said...

I love the photo, and it is great that you are having a pet dedication service again.

I am challenged by your thoughts on the lifechanging nature of marriage.

Great play.

Rev Honey said...

Thanks for your thoughtful responses. Great play.

RevDrKate said...

Good to see you back. Thanks for the reminder about connections. Wish I could bring Maggie to be blessed by you on Sunday.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

connected... yes indeed.

hope the hiatus was good... and hope you continue to take care of yourself, find ways to nourish your inner writer, and hope the animals behave for you sunday!

DogBlogger said...

Glad to see you playing!

Jiff said...

Been missing you!
Thanks for the candor....
you've insprited me to go and play....

"PS" (a.k.a. purple) said...

Welcome back and hope the break was renewing to you. Great play.

karlajean said...

have a beautiful day on Sunday. I know it will be wonderful.
I appreciate the multiplicity of ways you approached number 1--so thoughtful. Gave me food for thought, too.

Border Explorer said...

G.K. Chesterton: "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." - Chapter 5, What's Wrong With The World, 1910

St. Francis was a true Christian and a real inspiration.

mompriest said...

yes, life changing events, all that you mention....sometimes I think, though, that I have been married so long that I forget how being married shapes and forms me in an ongoing way....

good play, glad you are back from hiatus...

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

You're right. Most of us in this culture have little idea what it means to be persecuted for our faith.

Barbara B. said...

"Downwardly mobile" made me smile.

Welcome back.

Kievas said...

Well played, and it's good to hear the animal blessing was a success!

LawAndGospel said...

Thanks for sharing this. I was thinking about the connectedness of creation when I watched part of the BBC "Planet Earth" series this week which is overwhelmingly beautiful. Blessings to you in all you are connected to.

Lindy said...

I hope Scout got a real good blessing. She's so pretty. And I hope you had a good time seeing all the nice animals. I got blessed one time by the Methodists. They might of run out of blessings though because they never offered them any more. Just once. I got a treat at that too! Dogs are OK with fewer blessings. It's the cats you really gotta pray for.

Love,

Rowan