St. Francis of Assisi

Friends in Christ, today is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. And of the many things written about St. Francis, let us today hear of one incident in his life. It is from the book: ‘The Little Flowers of St. Francis.'[1]
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In the early days of the Franciscans, it was known by some, that Francis would often rise in the middle of the night to pray. And his reputation for holiness was great.
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Well a certain innocent child was visiting the brothers; he had heard of St. Francis, and wanted to learn from him, and especially to find out what he did in the night.
In order that he would not be overcome by sleep and miss out, he tied a cord from his waist to the rope on Francis’ tunic. This way he thought, he would be awakened at night if Francis got up. He tied it very gently, so that Francis was not aware of it.
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Now when all the brothers were fast asleep, Francis rose up, and finding the child’s cord tied to his tunic, he carefully untied it, so as not to awaken the child; then he went alone into the nearby woods to a chapel where he could pray in the quiet of the night.
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Shortly after, the child awoke, and finding Francis gone and the cord untied, he rose up quickly and went to seek him. Perceiving that the door was open, he thought Francis had gone that way; and entering into the woods, and on to the chapel, he came to hear the sound of many voices.
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As he approached, he saw a great and wonderful light all round the saint, and in the light, Francis was speaking with Jesus, and Mary. Also present was St. John with many angels. On seeing this the child fainted and fell to the ground.
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When the vision ended, Francis went to return home, but stumbled over this child, who appeared to be dead. With great compassion he took him up in his arms and carried him in his bosom, as the good shepherd carries his lambs.
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Later, when the boy had revived, Francis forbade him to tell anyone of the vision until after his death; the child grew up to become a distinguished man of the Franciscans, who later related the whole incident to the brothers.
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Perhaps not in visions or miracles, yet we are called, like Francis to enter into conversation with the Lord and the saints. This is what it really means to pray.
On this Feast of St. Francis, the Blessing of pets will be at noon today, outside.

 

[1] Little Flowers of St. Francis.

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