A Meditation on the Franciscan Coat of Arms

A Meditation on the Franciscan Coat of Arms

If you go to any of our Franciscan friaries, churches, or convents, you will almost always find the Franciscan Coat of Arms, painted somewhere, hanging on a wall or visible over a doorway. This holds true around the world as well as through the centuries. 
The Franciscan coat of arms often consists of a cross with two arms crossing each other and nailed to a cross—or at least with a cross in the background. One arm is that of Christ; the other is that of St. Francis of Assisi. This image is a key identification badge for those who consider themselves followers of St. Francis. 
This Franciscan coat of arms is an image worthy of our contemplation. The image is a true expression of both Jesus’ and Francis’ fervent style of love. We see in Jesus’ crucified hand, first of all, God’s incredible overflowing love for us. In Francis’ wounded hand, in turn, we see the incredibly loving response of St. Francis to the burning love of God, who first loved us. 
This is indeed something to ponder. All in all, the Franciscan coat of arms is a wonderful expression of the Franciscan (or Seraphic) style of love. Though few of us live up to this ideal, it calls us to something rare and splendid!

Lord Jesus, you said, “No one has greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Help us to contemplate the amazing intensity of your love, as symbolized by your crucified hand. Help us also to imitate you more fully, who first loved us, and to imitate St. Francis, who responded so fervently to the love so lavishly pour out upon him. Amen.



Featured photo: PhotoXpress.com/Olga Lyubkin


About the Author

Jack Wintz, O.F.M., is a familiar face at Franciscan Media. His articles and photos have been appearing in the pages of St. Anthony Messenger magazine for over 38 years. He has been writing Friar Jack’s E-spirations for AmericanCatholic.org for over ten years. This free e-newsletter reaches over 50,000 readers around the world.
  • Bernie Welch

    Thank you, Father Wintz. I’ll share this with our parishioners at St. Patrick’s in Mount Dora FL, where we are under the loving and inspiring care of Father Robert D’Aversa and Father Carl Vacek, TORs.