Over the centuries St Francis has often been co-opted by different causes and projects. On his feast day it is good to recall to the core of his experience and message.
At its heart, the origin of the Franciscan movement is a rediscovery and revitalisation of the Christian experience. Inspired by his own life-changing encounter with the Risen Christ, Francis sought to meet men and women in their own milieu with a joyful witness to God who has come to us in Jesus. He wished to make the faith present in an explicit and visible way, without fear or calculation, in all the spheres and situations of life.
With overflowing joy in God, Francis expressed the goal of all life and service in the following passage from the Earlier Rule:
'Let us desire nothing else,
let us wish for nothing else,
let nothing else please us
and cause us delight
except our Creator and Redeemer and Saviour,
the one true God who is the fullness of good,
all good, every good...
Let all of us
wherever we are, in every place,
at every hour, at every time of day,
everyday and continually
believe truly and humbly
and keep in our heart
and love, honour, adore, serve,
praise and bless, glorify and exalt,
magnify and give thanks
to the most high and supreme eternal God,
Trinity and Unity,
the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
Creator of all, Savour of all
who believe in Him, and hope in Him and love Him.'