St Francis of Assisi on motives.
January 6th, 2003
Santa Cruz, California
Received by F.A.B.
I am here, Francis of Assisi.
I have noted your reading of my life, and I am glad that you have taken an interest in what I tried to do on earth. Your age needs to understand the simple but powerful message of Jesus.
I know that for you, and probably for so many others, the message of poverty which I preached makes no sense. But you have to understand that it was our way of countering the wrongs (as we conceived them) of our time, much as you have chosen certain actions to do the same for your time. If you will try to relate what we represented, to the Gospel, you will see that we made a sincere effort to follow in the footsteps of the Master.
In our order on earth, we turned away prospective applicants who we saw would be miserable in our way of living. I thus realized that not everyone would want to do what we did. But there were many of us who actually felt joyful and fulfilled, and they were the ones who represented the best of our efforts.
I understand how you demur at the self-imposed hardships we endured, and how this does not resonate with your personality. But you must realize that what we did sparked a fire in many souls, and thus we were able to do a great work for God. You must understand that what is fulfilling for one person may be repugnant to another. So, though you are quite sure that you will never practice the austerities we practiced, nevertheless it would be good for you to try to understand our motives and our efforts - we were doing what you are doing: building the church of Christ on earth. And even though our method was completely different from yours, there is still that kinship of purpose. I do feel that those who will read this message will have a better understanding of the validity of our efforts, despite differences of behavior.
As you have learned, the chief factor in people’s behavior, in relation to God, is our motives and intentions. And it was the intention of myself and my followers to live the Holy Gospel without any worldly desires. We actually found great peace and contentment in life - so, you must understand that, instead of thinking of how much we lost, it would be good to realize how much we gained for our soul. For ours was a soul communion with God totally removed from earthly cares. Indeed, our method eliminated any worldly considerations. So that when we entered the world of spirits, we had no excess baggage, as you say. I will say, though, that I believe I was mistaken in punishing my body, as I realize now that this did not really add to my spiritual life. But all that is past now, and I live in the most glorious place imaginable.
Your reasoning is correct, when you surmised that the blessings of the spirit world must have been at first difficult for me to accept, considering my vow of poverty. But accept them I have, because these blessings accurately reflect not crass materialism, but spiritual exaltation.
And so, my friend, you must grow in understanding of your fellowmen, and realize that it is our motive which determines how God sees us in our journey through life.
I thank you most sincerely for receiving this message. I daresay it will do a lot of good.
Sincerely, Francis of Assisi