St Francis of Assisi - Part 3 - The Hermit

After the party when St Francis had a brief mystical experience, he began to visit churches and places of solitude where he could prayer. Firstly he went with a friend, and then on his own. He was tempted to believe that all his exertions were a waste of time. Then one day everything changed. Whenever he had met lepers in the past he would always give them whatever help he could, but, as he couldn’t face them in person, he had sent others to give them alms. That day everything changed. When he was out riding in the valley of Spoleto he came face to face with a leper who he couldn’t avoid. This time he didn’t spur his horse and gallop away, but leapt from his saddle, not just to give him alms, but to kiss him on the mouth. Then he did the same for the inmates of the local leprosarium, while begging their forgiveness for his cowardly behaviour towards them in the past. His attitude to the poor was changing too. Long before he became aware of a specifically religious calling he had always been generous to them whenever he came across them. However there was a further change in his behaviour because now he positively sought them out like never before.  read on

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