Christian Counseling: Saint Francis
Pope Francis has taken upon himself a new lineage of Pontifical names. Why the name Francis? Within Christian circles, Francis is a name that invokes thoughts of humilty and great holiness. This is due to the fact that St. Francis of Assisi is considered one of the greatest saints within the Church. He is also respected outside of the Catholic Church as a patron of animals and a paradigm of virtue. It is of no wonder that this name was not chosen sooner.
Who was St. Francis?
St. Francis is a saint all Certified Christian Counselors should know. He was a Thirteenth Century Brother who founded the Francsican Order. His life was dedicated to the service of the poor and emulating Christ. His life however is far from meditative and solitary but full of stories and adventures. This great saint traveled to the Far East and dealt with great sultans and stood before past popes as he founded his brotherhood. In addition to this, many stories circulate with how he dealt with and spoke with animals. One such story involved a wolf who terrorized a small town and how St. Francis persuaded the wolf to leave the people alone.
Perhaps the most amazing story of St. Francis is the stigmata. It is said that St. Francis received the wounds of Christ while in a state of deep meditation. Very few saints possess the stigmata. These and other astounding miracles all led to his almost immediate canonization only two years after St. Francis’ death.
Pope Francis as a religious of the Jesuit Order has always been concerned about the poor. This is perhaps why he has always been attracted to the life of St. Francis and why he decided to choose this saint as a patron for his pontificate.
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Mark Moran, MA