In This Walk of Faith: We Walk Not Alone but With The Inspiration of the Faithful
The feast of St. Francis of Assisi has already passed. On October 4, the Church celebrated and honored the life of St. Francis and his earnest and obedience to Our Lord of Savior Jesus Christ. It has taken me a few weeks to reflection on his life and now I share my reflections with you…
The Saint was an ordinary man: he knew the pangs of hunger and unquenchable thirst. He struggled with the flames of sexual desire and the temptations of sensual indulgence; and the "Little Pauper of God" even wrestled with the very existence of God Himself. Who was this most human of saints? Posterity has recorded him as Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, although he will always be known in popular consciousness as Saint Francis of Assisi. It is Francis who shows us how to be the very best Christians we can, and it is Francis who shines the brightest among God's many saints.
The Christian Church celebrated the Feast Day of Francis of Assisi on October 4, and while attending Christ Church's 11 AM Solemn High Mass, I began to think: was Francis the only man in Christian history to live like Christ, in Christ's own way? Although there have been many men and women who have tread the path of asceticism proscribed by the Poor Man of Nazareth, none have answered the call of the Redeemer as clearly and as vividly as Francis of Assisi. Born into a family of wealth and comfort, Francis heard Christ Himself command the troubadour to "go forth and rebuild my Church" while meditating in the dilapidated chapel of San Damiano. Francis did as the Lord commanded, and the rest, as they say in our society, "is history."
I came to realize that Francis was indeed one of the very few Christians to truly live as Christ lived, and one of the very few people to earn the distinction to be called a Christian. This may seem confusing to many people, for Christianity is the largest religion in the world, so, some may dispute this claim by stating, “there many Christians living today.” While there may be people who identify with Christian thoughts and practices, to earn the moniker of "Christian", one must fully commit to the life, teachings, and direction of Christ Himself, who is the only individual that a Christian seeks to imitate. It is therefore slightly amusing to see the wealth of the so-called "Christian world", and confront that reality with the reality of the Risen Lord, who certainly did not possess a seminary education, live in an episcopal palace, or worship in a stately Victorian parish church. Where then, I ask, are the Francis's of today? What life and soul are in a Christianity that does not imitate its Lord and Teacher?
Around our dining room table, the members of St. Hilda's House have engaged in many vigorous and complex theological and philosophical discussions. We have discussed the logic of Aristotle; the merits and arguments for and against anti-theism; the morality of homosexuality in modern Christianity; the Christian tenets of the Incarnation, Resurrection, and Final Judgment. Daily, I ask, “where we as young adults fit in the unfolding narrative of 21st-century religion?” While each Hildan naturally takes a different stance on the above mentioned issues, there is one thing we are all on agreement about: Saint Francis truly did show the Christian how to live like Christ! To the Hildans, a life lived like Christ is infinitely more precious than a life thinking about Christ.
On the Feast Day of that holy monk from Assisi, I found myself confronted with what it truly means to be a Christian. I do not live up to the high standards of Jesus Christ, but when I meditate on the meaning of Brother Francis, I'm glad I have a companion to help me reach the highest pinnacle that is Christ Himself.