It is later in the autumn of 1206 that with his decision to “leave the world” Francis began to be aware of the powerful Divine Presence in his life through, his work among the lepers near Assisi, and his habit of taking refuge in churches for prayer and rebuilding the structures. At San Damiano he encountered the consoling presence of the Savior who had suffered and died for him. It was a presence he soon came to recognize in other church: “And the Lord granted me such faith in churches that I would pray simply and say: We adore you, Lord Jesus Christ, in all you churches throughout the world, and we bless you, because by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world.” (Testament 4-7). Francis was at the beginnings of an inner peace. Continue reading
There are three events that seem to highlight the “period of crisis” in Francis life during the period from late 1205 until the summer of 1206:
- Francis’ experiences at the abandoned San Damiano chapel – especially his prayers before the cross
- Francis’ “leaving the world” as he turns away from his family towards the Church and an unknown path with God.
- Francis and the leper (or lepers)
There is no consensus on the order of the events – and there is some question about later embellishments of the event – and even questions about whether some accounts indicating a single event is actually a compilation of a series of experiences. But then the 13th century writers were not trying to capture “history” they were trying to tell their understanding of the “meaning” of the life of St. Francis of Assisi. Continue reading