The Life Of St Francis Of Assisi — страница 2

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Francis always entered and stayed alone. One day, he went inside the cave and accepted holy poverty and on the terms of God demanded the living of the holy gospel. He vowed to fulfill whatever God had commanded him to do. Francis then travelled to Rome, gave away his possessions, gave his clothes to a merchant and dressed in rags and joined a group of beggars. Being one with the poor made him feel good. Shortly after, he returned to Assisi to face a curious temptation. He deferred charitably as possible to giving away his clothing, joining beggars and destroying his Italian pride so that he could beg. But each retreat, each conquest of self, cost him a terrible effort. One thing remained for him to surrender and as he wrote later, it seemed for him a bitter thing. He must once

and for all renounce that body, and his renunciation took a fearful twist. In those days, Europe was full of lepers. These feared people crept form the edge of one town to another, seeking food and shelter, a bell tied about their necks to warn people of their proximity. One day, on a road near Assisi, Francis came face to face with one of these individuals. Young Francis ran in fear and panicked. He acknowledged the situation, returned to the leper, and put some money into his filthy hands. Francis had now set his course and rushed to its logical conclusion. He went searching for more lepers to aid, finding a hospital full of them. He gathered them all and promised them that he would serve their needs. Giving them what money he had, he kissed each on the cheek and left. One day,

Francis was walking past a ruined chapel of St. Damian just outside Assisi. He entered the place and knelt before a crucifix to pray. Suddenly the Christus spoke to him and said, Francis, go and repair My Church, which as you see, is falling in ruin . Francis accepted the command for what it was. First, he needed money, which he could easily acquire from his father. Unfortunately for Francis, he left on a business trip. Francis went down to the shop, loaded his horse with cloth and left on his own business trip. He sold the materials and returned to the chapel of St. Damian. The priest who occupied the chapel was amazed by his youth. First, the young man kissed his hands, pressed a sack of gold into them and then announced he was going to repair the priest s church. Poverty had

not dulled the discretion of the priest. He absolutely refused the money and looked at Francis suspiciously, whose reputation had hardly been that of one who worked around churches. Nevertheless, the priest permitted Francis to remain and work on the church, but not to use the money. Unfortunately, Francis father returned from his trip and discovered the theft of his possessions and that his son was missing. He then darted to St. Damian s church. Luckily for Francis, he located a cave in the nearby hills, which he used as shelter for himself from his father. Anger and frustration filled Peter Bernardone, who treaded back to Assisi. Francis held out for some days and then walked into town to face his father. The citizens of Assisi must have been shocked when they saw Francis. Thin

and pale, his clothes rough and his hands hard from labour, he looked like a zombie. People began pelting him with rocks and mud, the crowd gathered and started jeering at him. Francis father heard what was going on and he saw what was happening to his son. He barged his way through the crowd, took his son inside and chained him in the cellar. A few days later, Francis mother unchained Francis and let him escape. Instantly, he was back at St. Damian s church. At this time, Peter Bernardone appealed for civil prosecution of his son. Francis ended up giving the money and clothes that he stole back to his father. Francis then left Assisi and headed to the mountains surrounding the city for an unknown reason. On his way, a group of thieves ambushed him, finding nothing, they threw

him into a ravine full of snow. Cold and wet, Francis crawled out of the ravine and made his way to a monastery, where the monks there gave him shelter, in exchange for labour in their kitchen. Extreme cold and hunger resulted Francis to journey to Guibbio, a village near Assisi, where he met an old friend. Finally, Francis returned to St. Damian s and continued the restoration of the church. Not only did Francis now lack money, he was obliged to beg for the materials he needed to work on the church. A divine presence filled Francis, enabling him to restore chapels for the next 2 to 3 years. While at Mass in 1209, at St. Mary of the Angels, a church which he restored, God revealed, through the Gospel read by the priest, the full life s work of Francis. After Mass, Francis asked