St. Francis

The man who would come to be known as St. Francis, couldn't love lepers. He couldn't even  look at them. He agonized over this. He knew that he and lepers were the same, only they had an illness he did not.  He could love people with other illnesses, but not lepers.

This secret gnawed at him. He couldn't sleep. He couldn't eat. He couldn't focus in prayer. He became ill.

This simple friar who would one day become St. Francis had great self-hatred and doubt.  He was dishonest in playing the part of one who loves God's world. Everyone thought Francis was the epitome of love, but he knew he was a sham.  How intolerable this was for him.

He rose from his sickbed and went to a spiritual friend and confessed the truth, that try as he may, he did not love lepers. Rather, he was repelled by them.

His spiritual friend said: "Francis, just do the best you can. Right now, wide as your own heart is, you are being challenged to expand it even more. God will find a way."

Francis persisted: "But what shall I do?"

His friend said so quietly that Francis almost couldn't hear him: "What indeed!"

What kind of a reply was: "What indeed?" Francis was further devastated to find himself angry at his friend for not having a better answer for him, and he walked away feeling hopeless.

The next morning, even though he was ill, Francis found himself walking a dirt path toward the village. It was a beautiful day under a Tuscan sky. Wherever St. Francis looked everything reminded him of the perfection in all things.

It was not a new idea to Francis that God is perfect, and that each one of us must be perfect as well, regardless of appearances. He was also well-aware that knowing something and living it were two different things, yet at this moment, he saw God's light shining in everything he saw. Of course, he had not yet seen a human being.

While St. Francis was walking and thinking about God's perfection,  a man suddenly stepped out of the thorn-ridden bushes Francis was about to pass. Startled, St. Francis saw that the man's face was swollen with the deformity of a leper.

Without even thinking, St. Francis, leaped at the man. He grabbed the man by the shoulders, pulled him so close that they stood breast to breast.  Without a thought, he kissed the leper fully on the mouth.

In that moment, Francis became St. Francis, and the leper revealed himself as Christ.

I came across this story told in a book called Fingerpainting on the Moon by Peter Lewitt.  I retell the story here because of how we so want to be more Godlike and find ourselves asking the question again and again -- "But what shall I do?"

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"What indeed!"
That is how I imagine pure love would answer.

Well, from this inspiring story I guess I have to learn that we don't have to do anything except accepting and welcoming the tests God gives to us for our growth, even the hardest ones. Easy to be said but more difficult to be done... for me. A dear and beloved angel, when I'm in difficult, always repeats to me to surrender to the tests and to not resist to them... she's right but sometimes it's very difficult... so the tests will be repeated till I'll pass them... sooner or later

It was most difficult for St. Francis.

I have to tell you, Andrea, that in Turin, meeting you and being with you opened my heart.

Dearest Andrea, sweetest child of Bhagavan,
whenever a need is to be filled you are the first to offer your help. It doesn't matter if the need requires giving time, physical effort, money, provide for goods, you do all that is in your power and you give away everything without even a blink of the eye.
Time for you to see the big, gentle and loving heart Bhagavan gave you, time to be gentle with yourself.

"God Says You Are His Love" - Heavenletter # 20

"Your eyes are beginning to see what your heart already knows and which your mind has denied. My ear covers your heart, and I hear its beat. Your lips are poised to speak of your recognition. You wish to say, "I accept."

Say, "I accept."

Say, "I accept Your love."

Say, "I accept Our relationship."

Say, "I give myself to You, my Father. That is all I have to give. I have nothing else to give you but my awareness. You have given me life and everything else, and You ask for nothing but that I fill myself with Your love. You have offered me water to drink, and I deny my thirst." * * *

Loving you always
Berit

Beloved sweet angel your words filled my heart with tears of joy: humbly and with many errors, but... well I'm still in the process of learning it so I need to do a lot of training, I try to put in practice a motto from our Lord, that I love very much: "Help ever, hurt never". Kisses!

P.s. @Gloria: I'm very happy and honoured that God has chosen me as an instrument to open up much more the heart of one of His dearest daughters :). I think we are all His instruments and it's wonderful, at least for me, when we are blessed with the awareness of this while His play is going on: it's happened to me some times and I felt in those occasions completely filled with joy and bliss. We daily play an assigned role in His wordly drama but rarely, as far as I know, we're aware of being actors and not the directors of this play.

St. Francis has always been one of my favourites. I have his poem on my wall (which is great, but I need to practice his words). I have a statue of him in my garden with little animals around his feet.
It is so easy to love and appreciate those who are appealing to the eye.
I had a chance 15 years ago while working in a behavioural treatment home with adult males, to learn the lesson of loving the soul. There were a couple of fellows there that had self abused over the years, and their faces were distorted. But their personalities were beautiful. The stares and comments from people when we were out in public used to upset me and I would become angry and lecture those people. Until I realized that they were only afraid becaue they saw the exterior.
i can only imagine the soul contract these men had made with God, to experience such a life of pain and frustration.
i am grateful for having that experience. And loving those souls.

Thank you for this beautiful sharing. I didnt hear before.

What a story, beloved Arzuhan. I loved it too.

Dearest Linda,
thanks for sharing this amazing experience. indeed these are wonderful souls who have taken upon them the will to be God's instrument in such a particular way.
I know those gazes from people.
a big big hug dear.
Berit

Linda, thank you for sharing this beautiful lesson. In my little inner-city church, we spend a lot of time on learning to test the spirit by the spirit. To look at the inner person, not the outer. The stories, like that of St. Francis and yours, where we find the Christed spirit in what is to us the most unexpected places. Godde loves to test us with our own perceptions.

Dear Lynda, thanks for your sharing. I daily work with mental impaired adults so I know very well what you've described. I agree that the main difficult for those not familiar with these persons is the fear of what it's different. Going beyond the external sheath is really a challenging task sometimes.

Thank you all for sharing and I am still learning from you. How do you love a politician. There is something called hypocriticall and I can not do that. I have great trouble to be civil to some politicians whom I do not find to be good, SO Please Help. Love you all. Jack

"How indeed!", dear Jack.

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