Introductory Note:

As we near the end of a week celebrating St. Francis of Assisi, we look toward his model of a Spirit-filled life. The power of God worked through Francis’s life in innumerable ways, manifesting itself in miracles and astounding acts of charity. Richard Foster joins us again to relate some of the most memorable stories of Francis that exemplify life in the Charismatic tradition.

Read Richard’s introduction to “Francesco” here.

Renovaré Team

Excerpt from Streams of Living Water

But why would I think of Fran­cis as a piv­otal fig­ure in the Charis­mat­ic Tradition?

Well, first of all, because of the strik­ing pow­er in the Spir­it that sur­round­ed all that Fran­cis did and said. Per­haps one sto­ry will suf­fice. Clare — who by this time had estab­lished the Sec­ond Order” of the Fran­cis­cans, the poor Clares” — had often request­ed the oppor­tu­ni­ty to eat with Fran­cis, but he had nev­er grant­ed her request. Final­ly some of the broth­ers urged him to con­sent, say­ing, Father, it seems to us that this strict­ness is not accord­ing to divine char­i­ty … espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing that she gave up the rich­es and pomp of the world as a result of your preach­ing.” In the end Fran­cis was per­suad­ed, and so a meet­ing was arranged at the lit­tle church of St. Mary of the Angels. Fran­cis had a meal pre­pared and spread on the ground, as was his cus­tom. Meet­ing at the appoint­ed hour, St. Fran­cis and St. Clare sat down togeth­er, and one of his com­pan­ions with St. Clare’s com­pan­ion, and all his oth­er com­pan­ions were grouped around that hum­ble table.” As they ate, Fran­cis began to speak about God in such a sweet and holy and pro­found and divine and mar­velous way that he him­self and St. Clare and her com­pan­ion and all the oth­ers who were at that poor lit­tle table were rapt in God.”

In the mean­time the peo­ple of Assisi were hor­ri­fied to see in the dis­tance St. Mary of the Angels and the entire for­est around it enveloped in flames. They rushed up the hill, hop­ing to put out the blaze before every­thing was lost. But upon arriv­ing at the lit­tle church, they found noth­ing amiss. No church on fire. No for­est ablaze. Noth­ing. Enter­ing the church they dis­cov­ered Fran­cis, Clare, and the oth­ers sit­ting around that very hum­ble table, rapt in God by con­tem­pla­tion and invest­ed with pow­er from on high.” They then real­ized that the fire they had seen was not a mate­r­i­al fire, but a spir­i­tu­al fire. The blaze they saw was to sym­bol­ize the fire of divine love which was burn­ing in the souls” of these sim­ple ser­vants of Christ. The end result of this aston­ish­ing event was that the peo­ple of Assisi returned home with great con­so­la­tion in their hearts and with holy edification.”

I know I said that one sto­ry would suf­fice, but how can I leave out the most famous Fran­cis sto­ry of all: the tam­ing of the fero­cious wolf of Gub­bio? It seems that a huge wolf had been ter­ror­iz­ing the cit­i­zens of Gub­bio, killing sev­er­al chil­dren. The peo­ple were so trau­ma­tized that they would hard­ly ven­ture out of their homes, and cer­tain­ly not beyond the town’s bound­aries. Hear­ing this, Fran­cis imme­di­ate­ly deter­mined to find the wolf. He struck out on the road to the area where it was often found, his com­pan­ions fol­low­ing along at a safe dis­tance. See­ing them com­ing, the wolf charged at them, open-mouthed and men­ac­ing. Fran­cis firm­ly and gen­tly called out to him, Come to me, Broth­er Wolf. In the name of Christ, I order you not to hurt me or any­one.” His com­pan­ions, at first fright­ened, were aston­ished to see the wolf stop in its tracks, close its jaws, low­er its head, and lie down at Francis’s feet like a lamb. As it lay in front of him, Fran­cis addressed the wolf: Broth­er Wolf, you have done great harm in this region, … and this whole town is your ene­my. But, Broth­er Wolf, I want to make peace between you and them, so that they will not be harmed by you any more.” He then pro­ceed­ed to pro­pose a peace pact between the wolf and the peo­ple of Gub­bio: the wolf would promise not to ter­ror­ize and kill, and the peo­ple would promise to treat the wolf with cour­tesy and pro­vide it with food. As the peo­ple watched in aston­ish­ment, The wolf showed by mov­ing its body and tail and ears and by nod­ding its head that it will­ing­ly accept­ed what the Saint had said and would observe it.” At this all the peo­ple shout­ed to the sky, prais­ing and bless­ing the Lord Jesus Christ.”

In this dra­mat­ic act the shalom of God descend­ed upon that city, for we are told that from that day, the wolf and the peo­ple kept the pact which St. Fran­cis made. The wolf lived two years more, and it went from door to door for food. It hurt no one, and no one hurt it. The peo­ple fed it cour­te­ous­ly. And it is a strik­ing fact that not a sin­gle dog ever barked at it.”

Francis’s entire min­istry was rich in mir­a­cles and heal­ings, signs and won­ders, rev­e­la­tions and visions. Once he encoun­tered a blind girl from the city of Bevagna in the Spo­le­to Val­ley. See­ing her inward heart-devo­tion, he marked the eyes of the blind girl with his spit­tle three times in the name of the Trin­i­ty and restored to her the sight she desired.” One man from the city of Orte had a tumor between his shoul­ders the size of a large loaf of bread.” Fran­cis, see­ing his con­di­tion, laid hands on him and blessed him, and he was sud­den­ly so com­plete­ly healed that no trace of the tumor remained.” The sto­ries go on and on.

📚 The 2022 – 23 Ren­o­varé Book Club

This year’s nine-month, soul-shap­ing jour­ney fea­tures four books, old and new, prayer­ful­ly curat­ed by Ren­o­varé. Now under­way and there’s still time to join.

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