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Stella Matutina » 2005 » August » 25, the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis blog
The Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis
Stella Matutina

August 25, 2005

House, clothes, and pillows too

Filed under: Morning Star — Bruce @ 8:02 am

Houses, clothes, and pillows too,
beds and pleasures everywhere,
history shows where Francis goes,
these things he rarely shared.

St. Francis wanted nothing of the things of this world as he moved deeper into his conversion. Neither did he want those who followed him to relish such things. So, it is recorded often in the ancient writings that he avoided houses or the comforts of possessions throughout his life after his conversion. He also wore the poorest and meanest of clothes, and even these he took pieces out of to give beggars so that he himself was clothed like the poorest-of-the-poor. He avoided beds, and often slept in the fields with a rock for a pillow. But, consider life today.

Very few of those who say they follow St. Francis are willing to embrace his life of penance. He lived in constant simplicity and self denial when it came to the regular comforts of life. Everything today by his followers is kept in nice order, and regular meals follow regular sleep on comfortable beds with pillows. Somewhere, somehow, we have lost the life of penance that St. Francis himself lived and suggested to us by his example. This is a meditation worth making.

It is not that he required those who followed him to live as he lived. He never did that. His rules are more open than that. However, he set an example that can be used by any of us to augment the lifestyle he gave us and answer questions we might have about doing more than the Rule requires. If we are in doubt about how to live a statute of a Rule we need only consider how the Saint, himself, lived. Certainly the Rules he gave us were a minimum of what he thought best for us. He invites us all to do more, just by his example.