Today’s the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi which reminds us how one person can change an era.
Almighty God when the world was growing cold, to the inflaming of our hearts by the fire of your love you raised up blessed Francis we pray in celebration today and we do so in an era of spiritual coldness to rival the thirteenth century. Francis gained approval for a group of monks known as friars to bring the good news of God’s love outside church walls to the poor. At one point he received stigmata or wounds in his hands, feet and side that established him as a Christ-like figure. He brought the memory of Jesus alive in his age, demonstrated in healings, miracles and a work of reconciliation reaching into the Muslim world.
Francis brought the 13th century Church alive - how much we need similar figures raised up by God to bless the 21st century with what Paul calls the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
It's hard to challenge apathy and unbelief. Francis did it using imagination and humour. To him we owe the invention of the Christmas Crib, Christian ministry to animals and a sense of the splendour of God in creation. Chesterton wrote of St. Francis ‘The sense of humour salts all his escapades’. On his feast day we ask God to inspire all marked like him by Christ with an engaging humility and humour gifted to warm the spiritual coldness of our own day.
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