May the Lord give you Peace! This is an extract from the ‘First Life of St. Francis of Assisi’ by Thomas of Celano. We believe that Thomas joined Francis’ Order in 1215 and Francis died in 1226. Apparently Thomas knew St. Francis very well. This extract deals with Francis’ first two followers:
“Among them, a man of Assisi of pious and simple character was the first devoted follower of Francis. The next to espouse the cause of peace was Brother Bernard, who, to win the kingdom of heaven, zealously followed in the steps of the saint. Bernard had often shown hospitality to Francis, and having observed and acquainted himself with his character and way of life, and being inspired by the beauty of his holiness, conceived a fear of God which produced in him a longing for salvation. When he observed Francis praying all night long, sleeping only rarely, and praising God and his mother the glorious Virgin, he was moved to exclaim: ‘Truly this man is from God.’
So Bernard sold all he had as quickly as possible and gave the money not to his parents but to the poor, and in order to lay claim to the way of perfection, fulfilled the command of the Holy Gospel: ‘If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell that thou has and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ This Bernard did, and he shared Francis’ life and wore the same habit and was his constant companion until, after the numbers of the brother increased, he was sent abroad at Francis’ command. Francis was overjoyed when Bernard was converted and joined him, because it seemed that in giving him the loyal friend and companion he so needed, the Lord must be showing his concern for him.”
On 16th April 1209, (800 years ago last year) Francis of Assisi received approval from Pope Innocent III for his forma vitae (way of life). Before his death in 1226 there were already about 5000 Brothers following Francis’ ‘Way of Life’.Assisi
Today, September 13th 2010 four men entered the Novitiate in Ennis, Co Clare, Ireland. One man is from County Cork, one from Co Cavan and two are from England. All four have completed their postulancy year in the Franciscan Friary, Chilworth in England. We pray for Philip, Feidhlim, Michael and Mark and ask the Lord to bless them during this spiritual year as the prepare to make 1st Profession in the Order of Friars Minor.
If you are interested in this way of life I encourage you to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
God bless you.