Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi

Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance. Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation. Where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice. Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt.

– St. Francis of Assisi

If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.

– St. Francis of Assisi

A CNN article on Friday included an interest glimpse into St. Francis’ life:

Francis engaged Christendom’s enemy, Egypt’s Sultan Malik al-Kamil, by approaching him unarmed in the midst of the Fifth Crusade in 1219. The Crusaders had laid siege to Damietta, a city at the mouth of the Nile where 80,000 people were dying of disease and starvation.The Christian forces were hoping to conquer Egypt, which would not only make it easier to take and hold Jerusalem but would deal a heavy blow against all Islam.

Francis actually believed what Jesus said in the New Testament about loving his enemy and took a much different approach than his fellow Christians.

His goal was to convert Sultan al-Kamil to Christianity through peaceful persuasion. He didn’t succeed in that, but, amazingly, the two men found common ground and appear to have genuinely appreciated each other.

The sultan, who no doubt viewed Francis in light of an ancient Muslim tradition of reverence for holy Christian monks, permitted him to stay in his camp for several days, preaching the enemy’s faith in the midst of the Crusade.

….Nearly 800 years ago, at a time when biblical passages were used to justify the Crusades, Francis of Assisi sought a return to true New Testament values. Whether through his famous love of animals or his stunning visit to the enemy in the midst of war, Francis helps us to remember that startling acts of compassion are sometimes the best way to stir hearts and minds.

For those who want to be guided by what Jesus would do, Francis of Assisi is a good place to start.

To read the full article go to Is religion about war — or peace? – CNN.com