September 29, 2008

Approaching The Feast of St. Francis

The feast of St. Francis is coming up this Saturday, celebrating his birth into eternal life during the night of October 3, 1226. Today I've begun to reflect on Francis and his influence on me, having been jump-started by this post from Jeff.

I've spent almost half of my time in this life trying to put myself under Francis's influence. Oddly enough, I first met Francis not in church, but in a history class. This was before I was even a Catholic Christian, and my initial attraction to Francis was almost entirely secular.

It was the time of the first war in the Persian Gulf, and I was in my first year of college. To me--at the time--the violence had less to do with liberation and more to do with an economic system that had ceased to serve humanity and begun serving itself. Whatever it was, this "system" as my friends and I called it in our adolescent way, I wanted out of it. I looked at my own life of privileged leisure, in which I was free to study philosophy for a couple of hours each day and then spend the rest of my time drinking, going to punk shows, and chasing girls with my friends. A kind of crisis of personal responsibility as a "human being in the world" was brewing in me, but I didn't yet recognize it as a spiritual problem.

During this time I took a history course that covered thirteenth-century Europe. And there was Francis of Assisi, and right away I saw someone I could relate to. Born into a world of violence, he gave up his dream of knighthood after being imprisoned when the Assisiani lost the battle of Collestrada in 1202. Born into an economic system that began to divide people from each other, Francis opted out of it, and decided to be poor on purpose. I too was looking for a way to opt out of the "system" and--praised be Jesus Christ--I had found my model.

3 comments:

4narnia said...

thanks for sharing about the influence of St. Francis in your life. it's a beautiful story. i'll post about how i came to know St. Francis and the SFO later on when i have a little more time. i'm also looking forward to the feast of St. Therese on the 1st if october and then we have the Guardian Angels on the 2nd! busy week! see you soon. PEACE!

Jeff said...

Charles,

Thanks for the tag. I was always interested in hearing a bit about your conversion story. Thanks very much for sharing that.

Don said...

Thanks for your vocation and a very well written piece. Franciscans first attracted me to Francis. It was their interactions with me that made me want to learn more about him. I was on campus at St. Bonaventure University tonight and visited with one friar. I hope to attend one of the Francis week activities this week.