Two weeks ago, I wrote here about St. Matthew. Last Friday, Mother Susan wrote about St. Michael. If it’s not too much “saint focus” (is there such a thing as too much “saint focus?”), today I remind us that Wednesday of this week was the day when we celebrate St. Francis of Assisi. Arguably the most famous saint in Christendom, Francis is known and beloved by people from across the spectrum of faith traditions.
Because he is so famous, many stories of his life are well known. His conversion to Christianity follows an arc similar to St. Paul’s, and his expression of faith echoes medieval ballads of courtly love. In rejecting temporary comforts, he reminds us of God’s provision for all. When he confronts the Wolf of Gubbio, Francis takes a stand against demonizing the stranger. In his Canticle of the Sun, Francis draws all things together, rejoicing in God’s infinite expressions of creativity.
In all he said and did, Francis’ passionate embodiment of faith pointed to a truth and a commission: in moving beyond the walls of Assisi and rejecting traditional monastic architecture, Francis reminded us that the world is our cloister, and that walls contribute more to fear than to safety. This radical message resonates with us today, when so many of our actions root themselves in anxieties large and small.
How do we move beyond the architecture that holds us in? How do we breach the walls we construct, both internal and external? How do we lean into the Holy Spirit and ask our Creator to send us forth and use us as instruments of peace?