LITTLE FLOWERS OF SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI, Chapter 22

willbulow's picture

HOW ST FRANCIS TAMED THE WILD DOVES

This is a very short chapter, just bare bones again, it seems to me to be in the style of a gospel story.

A young man caught some doves, and on his way to sell them, he met Brother Francis, who persuaded the man to give them to him. There's some things said about how the birds fared after that, and then it ends with Brother Francis predicting that the young man would join their order, and saying that that did in fact happen.

No waiting at the door of the monastery for this young man. He got a special invitation. No, on closer reading that's not what it says. It seems like Brother Francis sees the man and persuades him to give him the doves, and makes his prediction then. But that can't be, because we're told how the doves fared before we read of the prediction. And after the invitation, "it came to pass," so some time later, we can assume the young man came to the door of a monastery.

But the brevity of this story puts cause and effect within a glance. Brother Francis persuades the young man to give up the doves, and from the young man's decision to do so, Brother Francis can predict that he'll join his order. Brother Francis sees that that decision was made with the decision about the doves. Doubtless, the young man will have further spiritual adventures before he himself becomes aware of a calling to the order. That's how it often starts, very small at first.

It's the same way turning toward good as turning toward evil. To turn all at once might seem too much. But the forces that are working upon us, for good or for evil, start us out with decisions we can manage. So, it's important to look ahead, which direction is our small, insignificant step leading us? Is it only an apple we're being offered? Jesus invites us to count the cost before we decide to follow Him. The devil would prefer that we ignore the cost, saying we deserve to have what he's offering.

Well, forbidden fruit is sweet. Doing a good deed gives a good feeling, too. Which way is this decision we have to make today going to lead?

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