A seccond look at saint Francis

Saint Francis is my confirmation saint and I have learned a great deal from him and his lessons of simplicity and love. However for a while i have been taking a seccond look at him and although there is a great deal from him I find many flaws in his way of life.

I have been reading the bible and the saint’s writings but i find a problem what he preaches. He talks about giving off all your possessions and living simply and free from worry and complete reliance on God and free from responsibility. Now I have to say to me this sounds like a very attractive way of life. But in reality it is a child’s life not a man’s life. Someone in the world has to take responsibility.Another Book I have been reading is Theodore Roosevelt’s book Fear God and Take Your Part.

in this book he discusses how necessary for us as individuals and as a nation to Fear (love) God. However as he also says:
“But in addition to fearing God, it is necessary by that we should be able and ready take our own part. The man who cannot take his own part is a nuisance in the community, a source of weakness, an encouragement to wrongdoers and an added burden to men who wish to do what is right. If he can not take up his own part somebody else has to take it up for him; and this means that his weakness and inefficiency place an added burden on some other man…”

also as it says in Thessalonians
3:8 Nor did we eat food food that we revived free from anyone. On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day we worked so as to not burden any of you."

3:10 " In Fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that if anyone was un willing to work, neither should that one eat."

I struggle with this Idea of the Franciscan life style is it really moral to not provide for yourself and your family and rely on charity alone?

If this is what you got from St Francis’s writings, then I encourage you to re-read them because that is not an accurate understanding of what Francis teaches.

We are not all called to radical poverty.

Those who become Franciscan friars are called to radical poverty.

That is NOT the “Franciscan lifestyle” for those who are married and have a family. If you are married and have a family, then you are not called to be a Franciscan friar.

Perhaps you are called to the third order, but the third order does not advocate “not providing” for your family and yourself or to “rely on charity alone”.

I believe you are misunderstanding Francis’s writings.

I believe all good Christians have to come to grips, at some stage of their lives, with the admonition of Christ to the Rich Young Man. Francis took it to on face value, just like he did in collecting stones for a church when told to rebuild the Church.
For this child-like trust he was afforded much suffering and greater glory.
Our more cynical age still has to come to terms with Christ’s call to put aside the riches of this world. I have come to a personal decision that I put all my resources into caring for and protecting my family; keeping my wife and child fed, clothed and housed, whilst giving what I can afford to the poor and putting money away for the day when my health will completely fail me. I must as a husband ensure that my wife is OK when I am gone. That is my job.
Others, however, are called to greater poverty. That is their job and a work of greater glory than I will achieve.
I would not be too concerned about flaws in St. Francis’s lifestyle; rather concentrating on pulling the beam out of my own eye in my sad search for just one rose to take before the Lord.

Relying on charity is exactly what Christ did. See Luke 8:1-3.

-Tim-

We’re all made differently, called to different vocations. St Francis did take his part. If not for people like him we’d have no models for the spiritual side, no emphasis on the radical importance of making place for God in our lives. It’s very easy to be a “Martha” in this world. It can take courage to be a “Mary”.

We’re not all called to be St Francis. We are called to appreciate and cultivate that side to the degree we can.

There is a distinction between the religious life, single life and married life.

And in the religious life, they give themselves to prayer for others, as well as giving up their own private will. This brings many blessings down on others which means they are doing their fair share of work modeled after Jesus.

May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.

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