St. Francis of Assisi is my hero.
Hero you say? How can a saint be a hero? Well, I’ll tell you how.
This holy man of the people lived by a strict code of self-denial. Born into a wealthy family, St. Francis eschewed all possessions and trappings of wealth, including his father’s lucrative business. He was a fierce advocate of the poor, a lover of nature and a friend to animals. As he states in his now well-known prayer, “He Sought to Understand, Rather than to be Understood”. What an amazing concept that someone would dare to actually listen and listen intently –before talking—because as he says “By Self-Forgetting, We Find”. These words are so powerful and evoke so much inspiration, that I find myself meditating on his words constantly, and it never gets tiring.
St. Francis, to me, embodies the perfection of a Saint—close in character to Jesus himself, I believe. He has taken Jesus’ teachings to heart and followed the path and the way as laid out by Jesus. I can only hope to aspire to this level of spiritual perfection. True faith means not being bothered by a lack of material security at all, for Faith always appears where there is doubt, and Hope where there is despair. I think St. Francis’ message says: Be of service to others; Do not be judgmental—these are great life lessons to live by. He has been a reminder to me constantly to get “off my pity pot, when I start feeling sorry for myself”—which oddly enough happens less and less as I meditate on this wonderful prayer. May you find the hope and inspiration that I have been truly blessed with.
As constant reminders of St. Francis’ love, I have a wonderful monastic icon sitting on my nightstand, as well as a 4” statue with adhesive base on my car dashboard, a laminated Prayer Card in my wallet and a silver (rhodium) medal on a chain around my neck. I also burn devotional candles when praying to St. Francis of Assisi.
St. Francis is very near and dear to my heart. I hope and pray that he bring you the same comfort he has brought me.