Archive for May 2012

Into the Way of Peace   Leave a comment

Written Memorial Day, May 28, 2012

On this Memorial Day, I am remembering the military who died for us on the battlefields of war as well as those who have come home to suffer with tragic wounds and loss of limbs. I am remembering my husband, who flew a B-24 in Italy during World War II.  I also am remembering Saint Francis of Assisi, not as the saint he became, but as the young man he was when he went off to war. His greatest desire at that time was to become a knight and gain fame and glory.

In 1202, there arose a great war between the centuries-old enemies of Perugia and Assisi.  Francis was 20 years old, and his father outfitted him in the finest attire to join in the battle.  Francis was wounded and captured at the Battle of Collestrada. It was a massacre. Thomas of Celano, the early biographer of Francis, indicated that it was beyond measure. The hills were covered in blood. Assisi was beaten, and the slaughter was great. Assisi was appalled, and everywhere there was weeping and mourning for those who were lost – the brightest and the best, the old and the young, the noble and the common.

[War and its consequences are the same always, then and now. There will never be an end to war until people and nations learn to forgive each other. It is that simple and that difficult because true forgiveness requires a change of heart and only God and his grace can change a heart.]

The angels surrounded Francis during the Battle of Collestrada, and according to God’s plan, his life was protected and spared. Many from Assisi were taken prisoner, including Francis. He was held in prison for about a year, until his father ransomed him. He returned home and suffered a long illness.

Francis’ carefree days of youth were over, and the road to his conversion rose up before him as he sought to find his way.  As a teenager, he had been a spendthrift, a dreamer, a rich, spoiled kid, indulged by both parents.  Then, during the years following his release from prison, he learned to listen to the voice of the Lord and was transformed.  This Memorial Day, I am reminded that Francis was chosen by God to lead us into the way of peace and to mirror the Christ, the Son of God living God. 

“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof . . . .”
The centurion – Matthew 8:8


Posted May 28, 2012 by ouidaofs in Beatitudes, Franciscan, Peace, Saint Francis

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