31st Sunday Ordinary Time – “Breaking News: St. Francis embraces Leper!” Film at 10

St. Francis & Leper 4

This image from the legend of St. Francis of Assisi may prove to be the key to contemporary adult spirituality.  Seems to me, anyway.  It certainly will be the key to meditating on Jesus’ polemic against hypocrites. (Hypocrisy = our inner leper, BTW)

Here’s a new version of that legend I found today:

Francis encounters a leper

Legend of the Three Companions (L3C 11: FAED II, 74)

One day, while he was praying enthusiastically to the Lord, Francis received this response: “Francis, everything you loved carnally and desired to have, you must despise and hate, if you wish to know my will. Because once you begin doing this, what before seemed delightful and sweet will be unbearable and bitter; and what before made you shudder will offer you great sweetness and enormous delight.”

What a concept – to lose delight in what used to please us!  And to find sweetness in those we turned from, who offended us!  
He was overjoyed at this and was comforted by the Lord. One day he was riding his horse near Assisi, when he met a leper. And, even though he usually shuddered at lepers, he made himself dismount, and gave him a coin, kissing his hand as he did so. After he accepted a kiss of peace from him, Francis remounted and continued on his way. He then began to consider himself less and less, until, by God’s grace, he came to complete victory over himself.

It seems like victory here points to his freedom from fear and revulsion of the “suffering other” – the leper whose smell revolted him and whose sight he turned from – the very mirror of his own wounded self he despised. Victory revealed itself in love of the other and of self.
After a few days, he moved to a hospice of lepers, taking with him a large sum of money. Calling them all together, as he kissed the hand of each, he gave them alms. When he left there, what before had been bitter, that is, to see and touch lepers, was turned into sweetness. For, as he said, the sight of lepers was so bitter to him, that he refused not only to look at them, but even to approach their dwellings. If he happened to come near their houses or to see them, even though he was moved by piety to give them alms through an intermediary, he always turned away his face and held his nose. With the help of God’s grace, he became such a servant and friend of the lepers, that, as he testified in his Testament, he stayed among them and served them with humility.

http://www.custodia.org/default.asp?id=1445

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Early Music Now

Across Borders - Across Time

Gretchen McCulloch

Internet Linguist

joyindestructible

Joy is the product of enduring faith.

anntogether

AM Roselli's art & writing site

lillian the home poet

rejuvenatement - not retirement

The Feels

Feel Good News 24/7

Elihu's Corner

press on to know the lord

karenwriteshere

Hope isn't an emotion, but a daily choice. Keep choosing the path of hope.

symbolreader

Sharing My Love of Symbols

The Lace In My Head Mirrors the Cosmic Mind

The cosmos is also within us. We are made of star dust. We are a way that the cosmos can know itself. Carl Sagan

Disarmed by Love

A force like no other. To be known and loved.

Revealing the Absolute

Where Seeking Ends and Learning Begins

Live the Essentials

Insights from the mishaps and adventures of a religious brother

Post it Notes from my Idiot Boss

delivered directly to my computer monitor on an all too regular basis...

National Media Museum blog

We explore the science, technology and art of the still and moving image, and its impact on our lives.

Envisioning The American Dream

A visual remix of the American Dream as pictured in Mid Century Media

Before the Downbeat

Thoughts on music, creativity, imagination, and exploring the space between the notes.

Pew Theology

Faith | Life | Society

%d bloggers like this: