St. Frank

October 5, 2012


St. Frank.


It’s your day.

You have given us good things to think about.







Voluntary poverty, chastity and obedience.

You dared to claim that freedom from compulsive pursuing – either money, or sex, or power, or all three – is a path to a richly abundant, love-filled life that matters, satisfying all three of those hungers with self-emptying grace, rather than self-contained greed.
That’s a vast improvement on the usual methodologies of oppression and imposition we have employed to achieve security in those 3 things.

You have made a mess of Christmas for thousands of kindergartens, with your stable* idea. You have corrupted the text immeasurably, and yet also shown us the value of incarnating the incarnation, with senses and smells and sounds and sight, as well as scripture.

You have given us a prayer for peace**

Many of us really think we will need to win a few wars yet before things will be safe enough to have the courage and faith to pray such a prayer. But we have it on our walls and our only hope might be that you will pray it for us, over us.

You have given many of us your name. Both my grandads had a ‘Frank’ in their name. Which makes me imagine you as being quasi Australian. John Clarke peppered his comedy with your name ‘To be perfectly Francis about it…’ And, so in a way, you’ve given us a sort of speaking. Frankness. Saintly Frankness of speech, what a gift that can be.

You were nothing short of quirky…and possibly, with more evidence, we would come up with a more serious diagnosis. Gratefully, though we have the evidence of grace which makes the diagnosis of ‘saint’ truer than any other metric – for you, and if only we would accept it, for us too.

*St Francis is credited with first creating a Christmas ‘nativity’ scene

**The Prayer of St Francis ‘Make me a channel of your peace’


  1. And don’t forget his love of nature. His treatment of ‘brother sun, sister moon, and addressing the animals as equal creatures with us. That’s why his feast day has been used as a pivot point in the liturgical season of Creation. He was a birdwatcher and a naturalist I expect, and his reverence for the non-human creation is a huge improvement on many Christian’s sense of entitlement and superiority

    • Yes, Yes, Geoff! Indeed his love of nature – especially the birds -respect for all that is fragile and reminds us of our own vulnerable creatureliness. The cure for our arrogance and hubris in ‘consuming’ the earth.

      Do you know this quote from him about the Crested Lark?

      “Sister Lark has a hood like a Religious, and she is humble, for in joy wherever she endeavors to find a few grains of corn, and eats them.”

      “When she is in flight she gives praise to God sweetly and right, even as the good Religious does when they look down on earthly things, whose conversation is in heaven, and intent is always to the praise of God.”

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