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Thoughts on Francis of Assisi

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Francis of Assisi was a man with a magnetic personality who believed he was called by God to live a life of poverty and simplicity.  His message and life seemed to be exactly suited for the age. Similar to the monastic orders, Francis chose vows of poverty and chastity but rather than a vow of stability, he chose mobility, which allowed friars to reach larger regions and peoples that the monks could not.  For Francis, it was the realization that from the moment Jesus became one of us, human experience and interaction was the new meeting place with God.  He didn’t retreat away from the world in a monastery but stayed out there finding God in everyday experiences. By wrestling with the circumstances of his daily joys and sorrows, Francis pointed the faithful in a new direction, to imitate Christ, to be peacemakers, living lives in right-relationship with God, each other, creation, and each other.  Through the lens of the Incarnation, he saw that we are all related as brothers and sisters, even those perceived to be enemies, the poor, and those living in the margins of society.  This new spirituality required his followers to hold each other in peace, compassion, hospitality and joy, and with simplicity of heart, to recognize who we really are and to whom we belong.  

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