|"His encounter of God is an encounter of an enfleshed God who died for us, so physical things matter."|
—Augustine Thompson, O. P.
Augustine Thompson reflects on the origins of the notion of the bohemian hippie St. Francis of Assisi in the searches for the historical Francis than began in the late 19th century. Thompson discusses how certain documents were mis-dated as earlier than they were, and on that basis, a picture of St. Francis as an individualistic, romantic rebel, constrained in his spirituality by the corrupt church hierarchy was promulgated. He describes the historical context of St. Francis's life and explains how the events of his conversion and spiritual life were actually not exceptional, but rather quite conventional for lay penitents of the period. Even Francis's complaints against the clergy were not what is typically thought of as Francis's, but were about the lackadaisical manner of their care for the bodies of the congregation. One area where contemporary knowledge of St. Francis is largely accurate is his love for nature and for animals, especially the birds. Thompson concludes the interview with stories about Francis's encounter with animals and their sacramental significance to St. Francis.
Francis of Assisi: A New Biography (Cornell, 2012)
|Francis of Assisi, Saint|