Saints—the formally recognized ones and the many others whom we have known personally—always point us to God. At the same time, they automatically help us to recognize all women, men, and children as people made in God’s image and likeness. Saints may not be famous, but they are certainly real.
St. Francis of Assisi (1182–1226) clearly impressed his contemporaries that way. Living a Gospel-based, generous life was for here and now, not simply for distant times and faraway lands. People saw themselves differently because of what Francis said, but, more importantly, because of his actions. Francis once warned his friars not to think that praising the holy lives of other people could excuse them from constantly giving good example to their contemporaries (Admonition VI).
Although Francis received on his hands, feet, and side the marks of Christ’s passion, he knew that this was an unusual gift from God and never a reason to boast. Francis frequently urged his followers to preach by their good example. He was canonized two years after his death in 1226. To commemorate this great saint, we have a special section devoted to him in our October issue.
May we be living examples of God’s mercy and compassion!
Image: Franciscan Media