Wednesday, December 1, 2010

St. Francis of Assisi...and a Call to Action

This postcard was created by Andrea Jay who lives in New York.  The image shows a person saying "It pays to advertise!"

So what is advertising?  According to Wikipedia:

"Advertising is a form of  communication intended to persuade an audience (viewers, readers, or listeners) to purchase or take some action upon products, ideas, or services.

It includes the name of a product or service and how that product or service could benefit the consumer, to persuade a target market to purchase or to consume that particular brand.

These messages are usually paid for by sponsors and viewed via various media.

Advertising can also serve to communicate an idea to a large number of people in an attempt to convince them to take a certain action."

Saint Francis of Assisi, who is most well known, is the founder of the Franciscan Order and patron saint of such things as the environment and pets. He is well known mostly because of the order which he founded after a life of richness in Assisi, his home town.

He was born to a merchant and enjoyed a rich childhood and his young adult life was plagued with sin. He eventually had a change of heart and gave up all possessions, devoting his entire life to God and poverty, as well as charity.

This poverty is still followed by his order wherein the friars or religious give up all possessions and cannot even handle money. They are a flourishing order and thus he is still well known today.

Given this information about St. Francis, what would be a call to action that one could take as we are nearing the end of 2010?  

One idea is to read the book The Lessons of St. Francis: How to Bring Simplicity and Spirituality Into Your Daily Life by John Michael Talbot or Following Francis: The Franciscan Way for Everybody by Susan Pritchford.

The first book has many suggestions about how to incorporate St. Francis' philosophy into one's everyday life via simplicity, joy, solitude, humility, creativity, community, compassion, creation, service, peace, and prayer. 

In the second book, author Susan Pitchford tells her own story of the Franciscan life as a member of the Third Order, founded by Francis himself so that people from all walks of life could follow the saint's ideal. Pitchford learned that the Franciscan tradition isn't the exclusive possession of friars or cloistered nuns, but a spiritual path for ordinary people living in the twenty-first century.

Either book should be available through your library; and would make for interesting reading and reflection.  If you are so moved, please share how you incorporate the philosophies of St. Francis into your daily life.