Friday, April 28, 2017

In the footsteps of St. Francis ...

St. Francis in the court of the Sultan.

Pope Francis arrived in Egypt today.

A mission of peace.

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." - source
May 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.


  1. Thanks for reminding me of what Saint Francis did long ago. I pray that our Holy Father's trip to Egypt will bear much fruit and desire for reconciliation and peace.

  2. Francis preached the truth of Jesus to the Sultan and called him to conversion. The version of the story that has him not ever again preaching the Truth to the Muslims or trying to convert them to the Faith is not at all true to history. Franciscans, since the time of Francis, and during his life, have been bold in their preaching of the Gospel to Muslims, and many of them have been martyred for their efforts. This new "FrancisChurch" rewriting of the life of St. Francis makes me very sad.

    1. I wondered about that myself. However, the Trappist Martyrs of Atlas and Bl. Charles de Foucauld were of the same mind - to live among Muslims, and so on. And of course St. Teresa of Calcutta and Missionaries of Charity do likewise. Members of OL of Mercy exchanged themselves for Christian slaves - and in that sense, they witnessed to the Gospel and were 'subject' to Muslims in that sense, while adhering to the Faith.

    2. I enjoyed watching some of the events while Papa was in Egypt. I especially liked his praying with the 300 youth who came to greet him late evening while he was getting reading to retire to sleep. He prayed with them and encouraged them, lifting them up in the faith.

      Viva il Papa!

  3. Thank you for this post, and for reminding us of the courage of my good St. Francis, and his love for the Gospel. Imagine marching boldly into a war zone, armed with nothing more than his Faith!

    A lot of people mistakenly confuse ecumenism with relativism, and cite St. Francis as an example. St. Francis did not risk his life just to make peace and be friendly with the Muslims. He wanted to convert them to Christianity, which at that time meant Catholicism. He was a true, loyal, obedient son of the Church.

    Peace, joy, and all good to all here - Susan, ofs


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