fresco of friars and pope

The fresco, “Confirmation of the Rule,” includes the early followers of St. Francis. Giotto (1299) Public domain

Though I don’t think this applies to all extremist positions, which should be called out and honestly named, this passage from the Mirror of Perfection inspires me. A fundamental sense of respect for others can have positive ripple effects in our society that might help heal divisions and prevent unnecessary disturbances.

It reminds me that we (not just friars) are all different, yet all gifted. We won’t all think alike or have the same ideas, hopes, or aspirations. But if we look for the good with kindness and respect, and affirm the goodness we see, we will all be a lot better off. And we are better off together than alone.

A good Friar Minor should imitate the lives and possess the merits of these holy friars: the perfect faith and love of poverty of Brother Bernard; the simplicity and purity of Brother Leo, who was a man of most holy purity; the courtesy of Brother Angelo, who was the first nobleman to enter the Order, and was endowed with all courtesy and kindness; the gracious look and natural good sense of Brother Masseo, together with his noble and devout eloquence; the mind upraised to God, possessed in its highest perfection by Brother Giles; the virtuous and constant prayer of Brother Rufino, who prayed without ceasing, and whose mind was ever fixed on God, whether sleeping or working; the patience of Brother Juniper, who attained the state of perfect patience because he kept the truth of his low estate constantly in mind, whose supreme desire was to follow Christ on the way of the Cross; the bodily and spiritual courage of Brother John of Lauds, who in his time had been physically stronger than all men; the charity of Brother Roger, whose whole life and conversation was inspired by fervent charity; the caution of Brother Lucidus, who was unwilling to remain in any place longer than a month, for when he began to like a place, he would at once leave it, saying, “Our home is not here, but in heaven.”

st francis receives stigmata with Br. Leo

The Stigmatisation of St. Francis by Piero della Francesca, includes Br. Leo recording the event. Br. Leo also transcribed The Mirror of Perfection.

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May all be one