St. Francis in the court of the Sultan.
Pope Francis arrived in Egypt today.
In 1219 Francis and one friar companion made their way across Saracen lines during the Fifth Crusade to meet the Sultan of Egypt, Malik-al-Kamil. They were arrested/escorted, some sources say they were also beaten and dragged before the Sultan - if, true, St. Francis certainly found 'perfect joy' in such treatment and rejoiced to suffer for the Name, even desiring martyrdom. The Sultan, impressed by the courage of the Saint, befriended St. Francis, and approved of his sincerity and enthusiasm, and gave him safe passage to the Holy Land, as well as permission to preach. It is said Francis preached the Gospel - even offering to walk through fire, speaking of the love of God and the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit, without ever attempting to insult the teachings of Islam or the Prophet Mohammed.
"Upon his return home, Francis advocated a revolutionary new way for his friars to interact with Muslims, Moses said. "Rather than preach at them, he said, they could just live peacefully among them and even ‘be subject’ to them. So here he is reaching out not just to the sultan but to Muslims in general." - sourceMay St. Francis accompany and protect the Holy Father as he too visits Egypt on his mission of peace and love. Like his namesake, Pope Francis walks in peace through the midst of them, without armor.