Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Building Churches

I'm listening to a series of lectures from The Great Courses about St. Francis of Assisi.  Lecture four talks about his early life.  He was born the son of an Italian merchant in Assisi, and he yearned to reach the status of Knight.  At the age of 20, he fought in a war against a neighboring town and was taken prisoner.  He spent some time as a prisoner of war before being ransomed and released.  After recovering from an illness contracted during this time, he was at a loss regarding what to do next with his life.

God spoke to him and told him that God's church was in disrepair, and that Francis was to go forth and rebuild it.  Francis took this literally.  There were many abandoned churches around Assisi that were falling down, so he started working to repair and restore them.

It might be that that was not what God meant.  Many people in the Church at the time were "going through the motions" of being a Christian.  They were baptized and received the sacraments, but they did not love their neighbor.  The Church, as a Body of Christ, needed to be rebuilt, and later in Francis' life, that is what he attempted to do.

I wonder, though, do we misunderstand God sometimes?  Do we think we discern a call or a Word from God, and act on it, while God is shaking his head.  "No, that's not what I  meant!"

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