Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Blog # 119 FRANCIS
Blog # 119 FRANCIS It seems like all the world has heard of a certain poor man who lived close to God over eight hundred years ago. When we study the life of St. Francis of Assisi we find almost immediately that he was one of the happiest people we have known. What made Francis so happy, born as he was in the year1182? Certainly it was not a fine modern up-to-date electric home. It was not an automobile or television. Francis of Assisi did not find his happiness in picture magazines, in an electric dish washer, or in baseball, for these were not available in 1182. We find in our nation today millions of automobiles and airplanes, radios and television sets, electric dish washers, picture magazines, movie houses, bathing beauty contests, bottles of whiskey, and yet few people seem as happy as Franci was. Why is that so? Simply because of the same reason that no matter how much gas we might have available to our stoves, it will never cook our supper unless it is lit. From this I think we can begin to see why it is that Francis of Assisi could be so happy back in the twelfth Century when there were no automobiles airplanes television and all the rest of things that go to make up our modern life, whereas many people today who enjoy all of these things are not necessarily happy. Francis of Assisi was looking for happiness and found it in the only place where complete and perfect happiness can be found, in God. Everyone living in the world today is looking for happiness too. But genuine happiness in not to be found in things apart from God. St. Augustine told us this very beautifully in the fourth Century when he wrote the famous words: "Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee" Jesus told us this in John 15: 5. when, talking of things of lasting value, He says "...without me you can do nothing." Material things, radios television automobiles houses etc. are designed by God as unable to make us completely happy of themselves and forever. They are good when used properly, just as gas in a stove is good to use for cooking. But as gas in a stove will never cook a meal unless it is lit, so all the created things we might possess will never make us eternally happy unless they are referred to God. That is part of the reason Jesus said : "What does it profit someone to gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his or her soul in the process?" St. Francis very well knew that to be happy is a great way to please and glorify God. Inspired and encouraged by his simple life may we seek and discover the happiness God holds out for us here and now in the 21st Century, the kind of happiness that glorifies God and lasts forever.