Saint Francis of Assisi's Feast Day – October 4
Dependence on God
Saint Francis took his ascension and is known as the Ascended Master Kuthumi, also known as Koot Hoomi Lal Singh, or the Master K.H.
Mark Prophet talked about Saint Francis in The Answer You're Looking for Is Inside of You:
We can learn a lot about dependence on God from the life of Saint Francis. Before he dedicated himself to God, Francis lived a carefree and worldly life.
But when he became a true devotee of God, when something began to tug at his soul that changed him, there was no stone too heavy for him. He literally broke his body for God.
Francis gave everything to God and depended on God for everything. And in turn, God gave himself fully to Francis.
Let's enter the world of Saint Francis for a moment so you can understand what I mean.
He was born in 1181 or 1182 in the town of Assisi in Italy. His father was a well-to-do cloth merchant. Francesco di Pietro di Bernardone, as Francis was called then, had a certain worldliness and zest for life that made him a favorite among the young men of Assisi.
When he was about 20, he fought in a war and was a prisoner of war for a year. Later he set out to join soldiers who were fighting in southern Italy but had a dream telling him to return home. Once he was back in his hometown, he found that he didn't enjoy his old lifestyle of frolic and fun the way he used to. He turned more and more to prayer and contemplation.
One day he had an experience that changed forever the way he looked at the world around him. He met a leper, covered with sores. Just the sight of the man repulsed him. But instead of letting his aversion get the upper hand, he had a breakthrough. As he reached out to give the leper alms, Francis kissed him. From then on, Francis began to devote himself to serving the sick.
The next turning point in Francis' life came as he was praying at the broken-down church of San Damiano outside Assisi. He heard a voice tell him, “Go, Francis, and repair my house, which as you see is falling into ruin.” Now, Christ was calling him to save the Church, but Francis took the command literally. He walked the streets of Assisi begging for money to fix the church.
Some of the townspeople made fun of Francis. They laughed at the sight of the once-wealthy young man now dressed in a shabby tunic begging for money. But Francis didn't flinch an inch. He went on to rebuild the church of San Damiano as well as two other deserted chapels.
Francis awakened to his real mission when he heard a reading from the Book of Matthew during Mass one day. In the passage, Jesus was sending the apostles away to preach.
Jesus told them to take “no gold, nor silver, nor money” with them. At that moment, Francis realized that God was calling him to a life of poverty and preaching.
Even though he wasn't a priest, Francis became an ardent evangelist. He wooed the people of Assisi to the love of Christ. Those who heard his homilies were drawn closer to God, for Francis had that unique ability to touch a place deep inside the heart.
Francis soon attracted disciples. He wrote a simple rule of life for them and asked the pope to approve it. The pope's advisors warned him that the way of life Francis had outlined for his disciples was unsafe and impractical. But in a dream, the pope saw Francis holding up the Lateran basilica (the pope's church in Rome), which looked as if it were ready to collapse. So the pope decided to approve Francis' rule and gave him and his friars the commission to preach repentance.
A couple of years later, a young noblewoman of Assisi, Clare, begged Francis to allow her to become one of his followers. So Francis founded a second order for her and other women disciples, known as the order of the Poor Clares. He later established a third order, the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, for lay people who wanted to adopt the Franciscan way of life while living in the world.
Francis had a simple formula for saving mankind: the imitation of Christ and brotherly love. He taught his followers to obey the Gospel, to care for the suffering, to preach and to embrace poverty as their bride.
In the early days, he and his brothers helped lepers and others who suffered. They earned their food by working at a trade or at neighboring farms. If they had no work, they would beg for what they needed, but they would not accept money. In later years, Francis preached in central Italy and traveled to Egypt to try to convert the Saracens. He sent his friars in pairs to preach as far away as Spain, Germany and Hungary.
Well, the Franciscan orders grew rapidly. The men's order numbered over five thousand in Francis' own lifetime! This was a mixed blessing, though, because as the order grew bigger some Franciscans wanted to amend Francis' strict but simple lifestyle. They argued that it wasn't workable. But he always held firm to his original allegiance to Lady Poverty.
Among Francis' most winning qualities were his sincerity and humility. Once, after he had been very sick, he started a sermon by saying, “Dearly beloved, I have to confess to God and you that during this Lent I have eaten cakes made with lard.” Francis paid special attention to the sick and poor. He would even stay with lepers and share meals with them from the same plate.
As you know, Saint Francis is often pictured surrounded by birds and other animals. That's because the animals were his friends. He saw the presence of God in nature and therefore had a great love and respect for all creatures. All created things, he said, are our brothers and sisters because we all have the same Father.
Another endearing quality of Saint Francis was that he loved to sing praises to God—and he sang them in the common language of the people rather than in Latin. One time while he was visiting Clare and the community of nuns near the end of his life, he composed his famous “Canticle of Brother Sun,” which praised the Creator and his creation. And for a week he did nothing but sing it over and over again.
Two years before his death, Francis received the miracle of the stigmata—marks resembling the wounds of Jesus on his hands, feet and side. During the last two years of his life, he was almost totally blind and was in constant pain. He passed on at the age of forty-four or forty-five. Just two years later, the Church declared Francis to be a saint.
Saint Francis is one of the most beloved saints of all time. He celebrated life and swept everyone up in his simple, childlike nature. He was very human and very divine. His cheerfulness and love of life—the same qualities that had made him so popular as a young man in Assisi—were infectious.
Life with Francis was like celebrating Christmas every day, because for him every day was an occasion to imitate Christ and to develop a little more of the Christ consciousness.
I will say it again because it bears repeating: When we pause to consider Christmas in July, we ought to also consider the advent of the Christ consciousness as penetrating the whole substance of the year and being interwoven in the tapestry of the days. And Christmas ought to be an everyday affair, and we ought to sing of “peace on earth, goodwill toward men.”
By Mark Prophet, excerpted from his lecture, Eternal Christmas in July, and published in MP3 audio on Sermons for a Sabbath Evening Disc 3, and in print in the book, The Answer You’re Looking for Is Inside of You.
In a delightful and down-to-earth way, The Answer You’re Looking for Is Inside of You, puts you in touch with your heart and with the truth that is at the heart of all the world’s mystical traditions—that you can experience your own intimate relationship with God.