"Don't ever think for an instant, Sister, that your habit will protect you."
- Mother Mathilde’s warning to Sr. Luke - The Nun’s Story
RIP Albert Finney 1936-2019
In the thirteenth year of his conversion, Francis proceeded to Syria, for great and deadly battles between Christians and pagans were going on there every day. Francis, who was traveling with a companion, was not afraid to present himself before the sultan of the Saracens. But who can say with what constancy of mind he stood before him, with what strength of spirit he spoke, with what eloquence and assurance he answered those who insulted the Christian law? Before he was brought before the sultan he was captured by soldiers, insulted, and beaten with a lash; yet he was not afraid, was not terrified by the threats of torture, and did not grow pale when threatened with death. And though he was reproached by many who were opposed in mind and hostile in spirit, he was very honorably received by the sultan. Trying to bend Francis' spirit toward the wealth of this world, he honored him as much as he could and gave him many presents; yet when he saw that Francis despised such things as if they were dung, he was filled with the greatest admiration and regarded Francis as different from all others. He was moved by Francis' words and listened to him willingly. In all these things the Lord did not fulfill Francis' desire for martyrdom, since he was reserving for him the prerogative of a singular grace. - source
HOW ST FRANCIS CONVERTED TO THE FAITH THE SULTAN OF BABYLON
At length St Francis, seeing he could do no more good in those parts, was warned by God to return with his brethren to the land of the faithful. Having assembled his companions, they went together to the Sultan to take leave of him. The Sultan said to him: "Brother Francis, most willingly would I be converted to the faith of Christ; but I fear to do so now, for if the people knew it, they would kill both me and thee and all thy companions. As thou mayest still do much good, and I have certain affairs of great importance to conclude, I will not at present be the cause of thy death and of mine. But teach me how I can be saved, and I am ready to do as thou shalt order." On this St Francis made answer: "My lord, I will take leave of thee for the present; but after I have returned to my own country, when I shall be dead and gone to heaven, by the grace of God, I will send thee two of my friars, who will administer to thee the holy baptism of Christ, and thou shalt be saved, as the Lord Jesus has revealed to me; and thou in the meantime shalt free thyself from every hindrance, so that, when the grace of God arrives, thou mayest be found well disposed to faith and devotion." The Sultan promised so to do; and did as he had promised. Then St Francis returned with his company of venerable and saintly brethren, and after a few years ending his mortal life, he gave up his soul to God. The Sultan, having fallen ill, awaited the fulfillment of the promise of St Francis, and placed guards in all the passes, ordering them if they met two brothers in the habit of St Francis to conduct them immediately to him. At the same time St Francis appeared to two of his friars, and ordered them without delay to go to the Sultan and save his soul, according to the promise he had made him. The two set out, and having crossed the sea, were conducted to the Sultan by the guards he had sent out to meet them. The Sultan, when he saw them arrive, rejoiced greatly, and exclaimed: "Now I know of a truth that God has sent his servants to save my soul, according to the promise which St Francis made me through divine revelation." Having received the faith of Christ and holy baptism from the said friars, he was regenerated in the Lord Jesus Christ; and having died of his disease, his soul was saved, through the merits and prayers of St . - Fioretti, Part 1, Chp. 24
Pope Innocent III's dream. In it, he saw the Basilica of St John Lateran, the mother of all churches, collapsing and one small and insignificant religious brother supporting the church on his shoulders to prevent it from falling. On the one hand, it is interesting to note that it is not the Pope who was helping to prevent the church from collapsing but rather a small and insignificant brother, whom the Pope recognized in Francis when he later came to visit. Innocent III was a powerful Pope who had a great theological formation and great political influence; nevertheless he was not the one to renew the Church but the small, insignificant religious. It was St Francis, called by God. On the other hand, however, it is important to note that St Francis does not renew the Church without or in opposition to the Pope, but only in communion with him. The two realities go together: the Successor of Peter, the Bishops, the Church founded on the succession of the Apostles and the new charism that the Holy Spirit brought to life at that time for the Church's renewal. Authentic renewal grew from these together. - P. BenedictPope Benedict also left a beautiful commentary on the mission of St. Francis to the Sultan and its effect upon the Church and the Holy Land. He ties it to Nostra Aetate, something P. Francis clearly had in mind as well:
Innocent III's Successor, Pope Honorius III, with his Bull Cum Dilecti in 1218 supported the unique development of the first Friars Minor, who started missions in different European countries, and even in Morocco. In 1219 Francis obtained permission to visit and speak to the Muslim sultan Malik al-Klmil, to preach the Gospel of Jesus there too. I would like to highlight this episode in St Francis' life, which is very timely. In an age when there was a conflict underway between Christianity and Islam, Francis, intentionally armed only with his faith and personal humility, travelled the path of dialogue effectively. The chronicles tell us that he was given a benevolent welcome and a cordial reception by the Muslim Sultan. It provides a model which should inspire today's relations between Christians and Muslims: to promote a sincere dialogue, in reciprocal respect and mutual understanding (cf. Nostra Aetate, 3). It appears that later, in 1220, Francis visited the Holy Land, thus sowing a seed that would bear much fruit: his spiritual sons would in fact make of the Sites where Jesus lived a privileged space for their mission. It is with gratitude that I think today of the great merits of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. - Benedict, General Audience 27 January 2010Works for me.
"... Someone will have to 'lose' so that peace can reign. Yes, peace is more important than anything, and to know how to 'lose' is our security."
"To lose always and let everyone else win is a trait of valiant souls..." - Maxim 58, St. John of the Cross
“Let us together ask here today for the grace of rediscovering the attraction of following Jesus, of imitating him, of not seeking anyone else but him and his humble love,” the pope said Feb. 5 during Mass at Zayed Sports City, a stadium in Abu Dhabi.
“For here is the meaning of our life: in communion with him and in our love for others,” he added. - CNAI wrote the following on Facebook:
This is amazing. As an American Catholic I am always tempted to be self-reverential regarding the Church and the faith, completely forgetting that there is an entire world of Roman Catholics from many disparate nations for whom the Holy Father is a sign of unity. These events help us step out of our narrow understanding of the faith. The joy of the Catholics living and working on the Arabian Peninsula, far away from their homelands is truly edifying, if not humbling. Viva il papa! - TN
I didn't need a footnote for that statement, I'm not highly educated but I do appreciate Thomist thought on the will of God - such a complex, mystery. The whole teaching on 'the distinction of antecedent (inefficacious) will from consequent (efficacious) will' seems to me to help our understanding; but like I said, I'm not well educated. Nevertheless, I at the very least see the good in this, and if I had a shred of doubt, I would in charity at least understand the statement in the sense of God's 'permissive will'. Humanity is in the hand of God, in Him we live and move and have our being. Nothing exists outside His will. The beauty of the Holy Father's pilgrimage is to strengthen our brother and sister Catholics in Muslim territory. To read their comments and joy is a consolation for all Catholics. TN
On God's will and plan of salvation for those who are not Christian
"But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place among these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things, and as Savior wills that all men be saved."
[From paragraph 16 of the dogmatic constitution "Lumen gentium"]
“The pope has made pleas for ending the Yemen war, greater tolerance and more,” said Lina Ghattas, a 48-year-old Egyptian who had traveled from Bahrain.I'm just an ordinary Catholic like those people who welcomed the Holy Father, I'm not a theologian or a scholar, I believe in God - I hope in God. I'm older now, I see myself very close to the end - I'm in my 'end times' and I rejoice to see the Pope walking in peace among the 'Mohammedans'. The Holy Father brought Christ to the UAE, to strengthen the faith of believers, in peace. He walked in peace through the midst of them. God's wonders never cease. Viva il papa!
“I am not sure what will change: time will tell - hope, hope,” she said. - Reuters
“We Christians try to implement the order Saint Francis gave at his time to his brothers and to 'live spiritually among the Muslims ... not to engage in arguments and (simply) to acknowledge that (we) are Christians.'” - Bishop Hinder