Pope Francis is the first Pope to choose St. Francis of Assisi as his namesake. It seems a fitting time to read, or re-read, the life of St. Francis of Assisi by G.K. Chesterton. In this short book, Chesterton describes St. Francis as an antidote to his age. When Muslims and Christians were killing each other over territory, Francis chose to own nothing so there would be nothing to fight over.
He writes of the eccentric saint, “[Francis’s] life was a series of plunges and scampers; darting after the beggar, dashing naked into the woods, tossing himself into the strange ship, hurling himself into the Sultan’s tent and offering to hurl himself into the fire. In appearance he must have been like a thin brown skeleton autumn leaf dancing eternally before the wind; but in truth it was he that was the wind. The conversion of St. Francis involved his being in some sense flung suddenly from a horse. There was not a rag of him left that was not ridiculous. Everybody knew that at the best he had made a fool of himself. The word fool itself began to shine and change.”