Brother William Short, a professor of spirituality at the Franciscan
School of Theology in Oceanside, says the saint's thinking was more
profound and complex
October 5, 2016 by
St. Francis Statue at the St. Francis Vineyards and Winery, Sonoma Valley. (photo: Julie Eggers)
The following comes from an October 4 Catholic News Agency article by Matt Hadro:
St. Francis is often cited as an example of poverty – he and his
friars worked and begged for just enough food and resources to survive.
The saint is also known for his love of creation, and statutes of the
friar adorn many gardens. He is the patron of animals, ecology, and the
environment and wrote the Canticle of the Sun where he praises God and
But the saint loved God first and creation in its proper order,
stressed Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P., a biographer of St. Francis.
“He loved nature and animals, and they caused him not only to pray
and praise God but to become ecstatic. Nature was a reason for him to
praise God, and he loved nature. But there was no confusion between
nature and God for Francis,” he said.
Fr. Augustine wrote the book, “Francis of Assisi: A New Biography,”
published in 2012. “One of the principal conclusions of my book is that
Francis had no political projects, whether for the Church or for the
society,” he told CNA
“In fact, the idea that he would put himself in a position of knowing
better than other people is completely contrary to his desire to be a
servant of all and be below everyone else,” he said.
Francis’ love of creation really points to “the Christo-centrism of
his spirituality,” said Brother William Short, a professor of
spirituality at the Franciscan School of Theology in California.
“We can trivialize it and make Francis kind of a tree-hugger,” he told CNA
but “his Canticle of the creatures is a really profound way of
understanding not just the presence of God, but the presence of Christ
within all of creation.”
Brother William noted that there are false assumptions that Francis
was eccentric and was purely a poet and mystic who was “vague on the
details” and “not very well organized.” On the contrary, he said,
Francis actually showed “very clear ideas and was very good at
expressing them” and had “organizational and administrative skill” in
founding three orders.
Another lesser-known side of Francis is the deeply religious and
pious man who put a strict emphasis on care for the sacred vessels at
Mass, reverence for the Eucharist, and obedience to the Church.
“The one case where he’s harsh in his deathbed confession is he says
if there are any friars who are not Catholic or do not follow the books
of the Roman Church for their services, they are to be arrested, put in
chains, and held to be handed over to the corrector of the order, the
Cardinal of Ostia,” Fr. Augustine said.
Of Francis’ nine letters, he added, “seven of them are basically
dedicated to chastising priests for using unpolished chalices, dirty
altar linen, and not keeping the sacrament in a suitable place.”
Claims that Francis excoriated the clergy for their decadence were
false and circulated by excommunicates decades after his death, Fr.
“Francis never displays in any authentic documents about him or his
own writings anything except absolute submission, obedience to the
hierarchy,” he said.
“The stories about him humiliating prelates and so forth about not
living poorly are stories that date to over 100 years after his death
and come out of circles of radical Franciscans who have been
excommunicated by the Pope and are against the hierarchy.”
(Thanks Cal-Catholic Daily
.)St Francis Pray for us.