In one of his admonitions to the friars St Francis described evangelisation as using “the most holy words and deeds of the Lord” to lead “people to the love of God in joy and gladness.” Francis’ experience of Christ flowed with great energy into mission. He told the friars that they had been called by the Lord “not for themselves alone but for the sake of others.” God had sent them “into the entire world for this reason that in word and deed you may give witness to his voice.”
The way Francis viewed Christ had an impact on how he and the friars exercised their ministry of evangelisation.
Francis knew that the friars were in the communication business, meant to be bearers of Good News, as is the whole Church. We forget that at our peril. The friars were called to be “heralds of the Great King” and “troubadours of the Lord.”
God’s pastoral strategy was Francis’ guide. He recognised a progression whereby God enters into ever deeper communion with men and women, accommodating himself to our needs:
- The image and action of God impregnates all creation
- The Son of God took upon himself our flesh
- The glorified Christ becomes Bread for the life of the world.
Francis saw that the Eucharist is the last step in the long path of God’s humble “condescension” towards us – creation, revelation, incarnation, Eucharist.
Francis wanted the way of ministry, of witnessing to the Gospel, to be rooted in how God works among us - drawing close to us, adapting to our needs.