Because of generous love

“Consider, O human being, in what great excellence the Lord placed on you, for He created and formed you to the image of his beloved Son according to the body and to His likeness according to the spirit.” (Armstrong, 2000, p. 131).

This saying, chosen from the “Admonitions” of Francis, reveals some of the reasons for his reverent treatment of every person he met. The “iconic” character of the person, as image of the “beloved Son,” created as God’s likeness, is rooted in the Franciscan tradition from its very beginnings. Our humanity does not separate us from God, but connects us to God who chose to become human in Jesus because of generous love.

~ William J. Short OFM, “What is the Franciscan Imagination?,” Franciscan Connections: The Cord, March 2015

Who does not hold onto anything

The only Son becomes human as a poor child, and lives in obscurity, without wealth or position. Francis recognized in this event of the incarnation the generosity of God, who does not hold onto anything, even divine status. In coming as a human being, the Son gives away exalted position and embraces with love human limitations, suffering, labour and even death. The life of Jesus is a moving picture (in both senses of the word) of God’s life.

His whole person

ln a popular expression of the times, he (St. Francis) taught them ‘by word and example’ (verbo et exemplo). And, by their own testimony, he was for them a living example of what he taught: He edified his listeners by his example as well as his words; ‘he made his whole body a tongue’; ‘more than someone who prayed, he had become prayer’: these are some of the descriptions of Francis recalled by Thomas of Celano. That is, his whole person had become the message he was trying to communicate.