On almost any day, the little village of Assisi, in central Italy, is overflowing with people. The parking lots are crowded with buses and cars and vans, and there is a perfect babble of tongues because the people have come from everywhere. The visitor is immediately struck by the fact of the tremendous popularity of Francis of Assisi, who was born there many centuries ago.
Francis of Assisi is a saint for all seasons; a saint for all people. His popularity is partly due to the fact that he understood so well the heart of the teaching of Jesus. He understood it and he demonstrated it in his own life. Consequently, coming to know Francis of Assisi is a way for us to get in touch with the real essence, the real heart of the Christian experience. It is good for us to have a model like Francis: someone who understood.
Francis was born into a wealthy home. His father, a cloth merchant,…
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