St. Franciss life began as any other man of his time. He was a wealthy individual who was preoccupied with material comforts. This preoccupation also led him to fear the poor, especially lepers.
St. Francis then entered into a conversion that led him to be an alter Christus. He gave up all his material possessions and embraced poverty and welcomed the poor and needy into his life with open arms. he ignored the ridicule he received from both his family and his peers and entered this new way of life and became dedicated to helping people in need. St. Franciss conversion began after he had been imprisoned for a year in a foreign country.
He returns home and falls ill and is bedridden for another year. He then sets out for another war, but is called home by the beckoning of God. His conversion is gradual as he begins slowly working with the poor and the lepers. Francis eventually becomes estranged from his family and is brought before the Bishop of Assisi by his father. Here Francis publicly renounces his inheritance, strips his clothes, and begins his journey in search of Gods Kingdom.
Francis is ridiculed by his friends and his peers, but he endures the humiliation and continues his work with the poor. Now Francis begins to imitate Jesus and begins preaching, this leads to many men following Francis and creation the Franciscan Order. These men went throughout the cities and countryside helping the poor and rebuilding the church both physically and spiritually. For the rest of Franciss life he spread the word of God, and in his death he received the great honor of Sainthood. St.
Francis not only touched the lives of people in his own time, but he also touched the next generation with his teachings he has left behind. The mere mention of St. Franciss name brings to mind poverty. This is a man who gave up all his worldly possessions and joined the beggars in the streets. St. Franciss reasoning for doing the was to become closer to God and his kingdom.
Franciss relationship to poverty can be defined by these lines, “holy poverty stands high above all the virtues that prepare in us a dwelling place for God..” (Sacrum Commercium). It also states that, “blessed are the poor in spirit,” Jesus said, “for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” As Francis interprets the Bible, God enters your life only when you are poor in spirit, and when this occurs the kingdom of Heaven is made available to you. St. Francis and his followers took these words to heart and lived every day of their lives following these lessons.
Becoming closer to God was the sole reason for Franciss vow of poverty. Accompanying this vow he also believed he had the solution to war. St. Francis taught his followers that if they had possessions that they would need arms to defend them.
He believed that possessions led to violence, hatred, and war. Individuals self worth is to often measured by how money they possess of what possessions they have. Without possessions mankind would all be on equal footing and there for less problems would exist. Today reality shows us that such a way of living is not possible.
In todays world, instead of flaunting our wealth, we can share and try not to measure people to these standards. When one brings these teachings into the twentieth century it is hard to imagine actually following them as St. Francis did. When I think of myself and all the materials that we possess; giving everything up is not an option. We are a selfish human race as a whole, and we thrive on buying the newest technology and latest fashions. Giving our time by volunteering and giving to various charities are two small ways we, even as college students, can make a difference. It may not appear to be as radical as St. Franciss conversion but if everyone contributes in a small way it will make a world of difference.