Saturday, December 31, 2005

St. Francis of Assisi

I started reading a biography of St. Francis, and early on I am struck by a few things. The first is that I was unaware of his lust for glory in his early days. He went off on an expedition, and was humiliated because he had taken along with him many luxuries. It seems that that was his real conversion, when that path (that of military glory) was closed off to him. It makes me wonder if his lust for glory ever really left him. It probably did not. His conversion may have just been another outlet for it.

It actually reminds me of how all of these movie stars are suddenly becoming great champions of charity. Obviously they have not “converted” to anywhere near the degree that St. Francis did, but they are following the same pattern. Once you have lived the good life, and those kinds of things are boring to you, charity is probably the best place to go for a sense of fulfillment. It would seem that this is a good thing no matter what motivated them to do it, but maybe they are not really helping at all.

Regardless of what his motivation is though, at this point, from what I know of St. Francis’s life, you could take the way he lived his life alone and have something valuable. To reject property to that extent is always a good thing. The biographer tries to answer this question when he says, “It is far from hatred of evil to love of good. They are more numerous than we think whom after some severe experience, have renounced what ancient liturgies call 'the world' with its pomps and lusts. But the greater number of those who renounced the world have not at the bottom of their hearts the smallest grain of pure love. In vulgar souls disillusion only leaves a frightful egoism.” P 17

Paul Sabatier "The Road to Assisi"

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