We have $160,303 to go in our Fall Campaign. Every penny is used to strengthen the Church. See details!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Pope offers St. Francis as model for spiritual renewal

Catholic World News - January 27, 2010

In his series of weekly talks on the history of the Church, Pope Benedict XVI has reached St. Francis of Assisi, and he devoted his Wednesday public audience of January 27 to that “true giant of sanctity who continues to enthrall many people of all ages and religious beliefs.”

The Holy Father called attention to the “profound symbolism” of the vision that St. Francis experienced in the hermitage of St. Damien, saying that the ruined hermitage mirrored “the dramatic and disquieting situation of the Church at that time.” The “interior decay” of the faith called for a renewal, and St. Francis was a main instrument of that spiritual revival, the Pope said.

Pope Benedict also reminded his audience that in the same year, 1207, Pope Innocent III had a dream that the basilica of St. John Lateran was collapsing, and was saved only by a small friar. Later, when the two met for the first time, the Pope would recognize St. Francis as the friar in that dream.

St. Francis wanted to follow the Gospel “in all its radical truth,” Pope Benedict said. The great saint did not originally want to found a religious order, but he was persuaded that “everything must have its order and the law of the Church is necessary to give form to renewal.” So he accepted the requirements of canon law as a means of maintaining communion with the Church hierarchy. Pope Benedict next recalled the saint’s travel to Egypt with the Crusade, and his bold effort to preach the Gospel to the Sultan. The Pontiff remarked that at a time that was marked by a worldwide conflict between Islam and the West, St. Francis took up his part, “armed only with the faith and his personal gentleness.” His effort is a model for inter-religious dialogue today, the Pope said. The Holy Father also recalled that St. Francis might have reached the Holy Land during his journey, and the Franciscans today maintain their custody of the shrines in the region.

St. Francis was famous for his love of poverty as well as his “sense of universal fraternity and love for nature,” the Pope continued. His reverence for nature reminds today’s environmentalists that “Creation reflects the wisdom and benevolence of the Creator.” Finally, the Pope called attention to the joy that was so evident throughout the life of St. Francis, making him so attractive to so many different people and underlining the “intimate and indissoluble bond between sanctity and joy.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($160,303 to go):
$200,000.00 $39,696.72
80% 20%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Links: Think like a poet, academia's black sheep, Marion Cotillard on feminism 22 hours ago
Adapting Christianity? 22 hours ago
The Synod's choice: change the marketing campaign or change the product? October 12
The Synod Continues October 9
Why Pope Francis cannot win on sexual abuse October 9

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
In Cuba, Pope emphasizes service to the vulnerable, praises thaw in US-Cuban relations CWN - September 21
Pope challenges America in speech to US Congress CWN - September 24
As Synod opens, Pope calls on Church to defend ‘unity and indissolubility’ of marriage bond CWN - October 5