Franciss life began as any other man of his time. He was a wealthyindividual who was preoccupied with material comforts. This preoccupation alsoled him to fear the poor, especially lepers. St. Francis then entered into aconversion that led him to be an alter Christus.
He gave up all his materialpossessions and embraced poverty and welcomed the poor and needy into his lifewith open arms. he ignored the ridicule he received from both his family and hispeers and entered this new way of life and became dedicated to helping people inneed. St. Franciss conversion began after he had been imprisoned for a yearin a foreign country. He returns home and falls ill and is bedridden for anotheryear. He then sets out for another war, but is called home by the beckoning ofGod.
His conversion is gradual as he begins slowly working with the poor and thelepers. Francis eventually becomes estranged from his family and is broughtbefore the Bishop of Assisi by his father. Here Francis publicly renounces hisinheritance, strips his clothes, and begins his journey in search of GodsKingdom. Francis is ridiculed by his friends and his peers, but he endures thehumiliation and continues his work with the poor. Now Francis begins to imitateJesus and begins preaching, this leads to many men following Francis andcreation the Franciscan Order. These men went throughout the cities andcountryside helping the poor and rebuilding the church both physically andspiritually.
For the rest of Franciss life he spread the word of God, and inhis death he received the great honor of Sainthood. St. Francis not only touchedthe lives of people in his own time, but he also touched the next generationwith his teachings he has left behind. The mere mention of St. Franciss namebrings to mind poverty. This is a man who gave up all his worldly possessionsand joined the beggars in the streets.
St. Franciss reasoning for doing thewas to become closer to God and his kingdom. Franciss relationship to povertycan be defined by these lines, holy poverty stands high above all the virtuesthat prepare in us a dwelling place for God. . . (Sacrum Commercium).
It alsostates that, blessed are the poor in spirit, Jesus said, for theirs isthe kingdom of Heaven. As Francis interprets the Bible, God enters your lifeonly when you are poor in spirit, and when this occurs the kingdom of Heaven ismade available to you. St. Francis and his followers took these words to heartand lived every day of their lives following these lessons. Becoming closer toGod was the sole reason for Franciss vow of poverty.
Accompanying this vow healso believed he had the solution to war. St. Francis taught his followers thatif they had possessions that they would need arms to defend them. He believedthat possessions led to violence, hatred, and war. Individuals self worth is tooften measured by how money they possess of what possessions they have. Withoutpossessions mankind would all be on equal footing and there for less problemswould exist.
Today reality shows us that such a way of living is not possible. In todays world, instead of flaunting our wealth, we can share and try not tomeasure people to these standards. When one brings these teachings into thetwentieth century it is hard to imagine actually following them as St. Francisdid. When I think of myself and all the materials that we possess; givingeverything up is not an option. We are a selfish human race as a whole, and wethrive on buying the newest technology and latest fashions.
Giving our time byvolunteering and giving to various charities are two small ways we, even ascollege students, can make a difference. It may not appear to be as radical asSt. Franciss conversion but if everyone contributes in a small way it willmake a world of difference.Religion