January 10 Day 10
How Then Shall We Live?
Devotions on Living a Deeper Christian Life
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:3
St. Francis of Assisi & the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II
Photo Credit: www.artsunlight.com – St Francis of Assisi, Museo del Prado – Sir Anthony Van Dyck
The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, after having defeating the Arabs in Sicily, learned that Francis of Assisi was passing through the city. Frederick invited him to his palace to show him the wealth and extravagance in which he lived, the sumptuous table, the servants’ glittering uniforms, the golden dishes in which rich food was served, and the abundance of singers.
All were being merry, but Francis of Assisi was silent. The emperor asked him, “Francis, what are you thinking about?”
“Sire,” replied Francis, “I am thinking about Brother Massiliu and how happy he must be right now that he can pray alone in the forest.”
After a period of silence, the emperor asked him again, what he thought about at that moment, Francis said, “I am thinking how happy Brother Ageu, who is nursing a leper man, and how happy he must be.”
A third time, when asked anew, Francis answered, “How happy Brother Bernard is. Right now he is helping a widow clean her barn and then, in the evening, he will give instructions to her children in the teachings of Jesus.”
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand who spent 14 years in Communists prisons tells that the particular virtue of “poverty in spirit” controls the whole happiness of human nature:
“Those who have it are happy. Those who do not have it will seek happiness in vain. Blessed are those who do not need any possessions, they are happier than those who possess them tightly in their hands, as if those things were indispensable for life. Living in a “poverty of spirit” you know how to be happy in your present state or in the simple tasks entrusted to you, enduring everything without complaining. The poor in spirit are those who do not have anything of their own human spirit. They are the ones who receive God’s Spirit and understand properly the Holy Scripture. This is what I can tell you about the meaning of ‘poor in spirit,‘ and I pray these explanations may be rightly understood and profitable for you. The poor in spirit are those who do not have anything of their own.”
Words to Think About…
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“Study always to have Joy, for it befits not the servant of God to show before his brother or another sadness or a troubled face.” – St. Francis ofAssisi
Where there is doubt, let me sow faith…
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is sadness, ever joy
Grant that I may not so much
Seek to be consoled, as to console
To be understood, as to understand…
To be loved, as to love.
— St. Francis of Assisi (c.1181-1226)