Francis of Assisi

Francis of Assisi - An IntroductionSeveral days ago I mentioned that there would be lots of things written about Pope Francis and St. Francis of Assisi in the coming days – and that I was impressed that a writer for a news outlet would be daunting enough to try and produce something which included information about St. Francis.  It is a complex task (as I hinted) and it is inevitable that things won’t be exactly correct.  Even though I did list a short bibliography of recent books about St. Francis, someone contacted me and said that I should not criticize, especially since I had not written anything about St. Francis. So, I sent them the list of my posts – the same one I am posting here. I hope it is helpful, enlightening, and inspiring. Continue reading

Francis of Assisi: Francis and Nature, Part II

People are surprised to learn that the Early Rule of the friars instructed the brothers not to own pets – as well they were not to ride horses. These rules are only partly about poverty; they encouraged friars not to treat animals as objects or possessions. And, in the case of horseback riding, his rule distanced the friars from the proud world of chivalry. Later in his life when sickness compelled him to ride, Francis always preferred a donkey.

In his own writings, Francis does not adopt images from his experience of nature, rather he took those images from Scripture. In the five passages outside the Rules where he mentions animals, only once does he go beyond the imagery from Scripture, and it is to hold up animals as an example of obedience to God. Continue reading