St. Francis of Assisi: A Man of the Gospel
Looking for a Christmas present for a loved one who is always wanting to learn more about their Catholic faith? Consider giving them the priceless gift of enrollment in a course at the Avila Institute School of Spiritual Formation. It could be the most impactful gift you’ve ever given!
St. Francis of Assisi: A Man of the Gospel
This winter, the Avila Institute will offer a course on St. Francis as part of the School of Spiritual Formation. As we approach the new quarter, I want to reflect upon some of St. Francis’ contributions to the Church.
St. Francis of Assisi was first and foremost a man of the Gospel. Wholly devoted to the Gospel message, Francis founded an order dedicated to living a life of poverty and preaching the message of salvation. He did this in the midst of a world obsessed with wealth and material prosperity. Francis’ faithfulness to Christ and the Gospel brought about great reform in the Church and reminded Christians that their treasure lies in heaven not in the material world. St. Francis is known for his love for God’s creation and his ability to recognize beauty in nature. It is said that whenever Francis experienced a spiritual consolation, he would stop in his tracks to be in the moment, at times even when it meant leaving his companions to continue walking on ahead of him. Francis had a rich interior life regardless of his external circumstances:
“For, whether walking or sitting, within doors or without, in toil or at leisure, he was so absorbed in prayer as that he seemed to have devoted thereunto not only his whole heart and body, but also his whole labor and time.”
–The Life of St. Francis by St. Bonaventure
In addition to his prayer and faithfulness, Francis was also a man of great courage, seeking to spread the message of Christ without concern for his own comfort or safety, desiring to give his life for Christ if the opportunity presented it. When captured during the Crusades, Francis boldly preached the Gospel of Christ to the Sultan, hoping to either bring about his conversion or die a martyr for Christ. The fruits of St. Francis of Assisi’s work in the thirteenth century are still seen today, with countless saints and apostolates inspired by his work and spirituality. In today’s world, it is harder than ever to quiet our hearts and pray, but we can learn from St. Francis’ faithful example to develop interior lives that are not subject to the distractions and vanities of the world. With the help of the wisdom of Franciscan spirituality, we can learn to be totally dependent on the grace of God and nothing else.
To further explore the wisdom of St. Francis and Franciscan spirituality, consider joining us at the Avila Institute for the School of Spiritual Formation. Winter Session begins January 4 and registration is open.
Here is a list of course characteristics:
- Format: Live/Online or Recorded.
- Course Duration: 6 Weeks.
- Courses begin January 4.
- Class Time: One 1-2 Hour Class Per Week.
- Grading: Pass/Fail.
- Student Interaction with Professor: As much as desired.
- Student Interaction with Other Students: As much as desired.
- Each 6-week course is $150.
- Number of Courses to Earn a Certificate of Completion from Avila Institute’s School of Spiritual Formation: 12.
Courses offered this winter include Discernment of Spirits (taught by Dan Burke), Introduction to St. Teresa of Avila (taught by Dr. Therese Recinella), and Introduction to St. Francis of Assisi (taught by Patrick Linbeck). Please apply by December 21 to ensure a spot.
For those interested in exploring the life of Saint Francis through radio theater, be sure to check out “Brother Francis – The Barefoot Saint of Assisi.” This extraordinary production is deeply moving and powerful for adults and children. It was produced by Paul McCusker and the Augustine Institute. This would make a great Christmas present as well!
Art: Detail of San Francisco Meditando de Rodillas (Saint Francis Meditating on His Knees), El Greco, Ca. 1586-1592, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.
St. Francis Comforted by an Angel, Francisco Ribalta, circa 1620, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.
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