This week we will be using Francis of Assisi as the framework through which we dive deeper into important areas of our faith. Francis can be an inspiration to us for several reasons, not least of which is that he was a very genuine salt-of-the-earth guy. He passionately embraced the disciplines of simplicity, joy, creativity, community, and service. Out of that embrace grew the beautiful Franciscan ministry we see throughout the world.

Today’s Bible reading

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” — Matthew 18:1-5

Francis gives his coat to a poor knight. Giotto — 1299

More thoughts for meditation

Francis on simplicity:

“Handing his cloak to a beggar one day, Francis said, ‘We only got it on loan until we found someone in greater need of it.’ When his friars complained, Francis responded, ‘God, the great Almsgiver, will regard it as a theft on my part, if I do not give what I have to someone who needs it.” –The Lessons of St. Francis: How to Bring Simplicity and Spirituality into Your Daily Life.

One noteworthy thing about children is that their brains haven’t fully developed. They have almost no sense of consequences. When they fall, they trust that someone will catch them, clean their scrapes, and send them on their merry way. They don’t think about the weather—if they will need rain boots or mittens. They know that someone bigger will hover over them providing proper attire for the day. In this way, they are like the flowers and the birds of the air that Jesus calls us to emulate. Children trust they will be taken care of.

Francis had that inherent trust in God. It is what freed him to give his coat to a beggar with no thought of how he would survive the elements himself. It can be painful to think of simplicity to the extent that Francis lived it, with only a habit, a cord, and a pair of trousers as his possessions. But we must remember that it was not simply a desire to follow the rules of poverty that inspired him toward simplicity. It was his belief that God would provide for him. Jesus says faith as small as a mustard seed can make big changes. 

Suggestions for Action

What are some small acts of faith we can make today in an effort to live simply?

  • Write in your journal some things you would get rid of if fear were not an issue.
  • Is there a small act of faith you can imagine doing today in an effort to live simply?
  • If not, invite Jesus into the question. Lord, how can I do this?