Included in this week’s issue:
You have no doubt heard the quote attributed to St. Francis: “Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use word.”
Fact is he never said such a thing.
None of his disciples, early or later biographers have these words coming from his mouth. It doesn’t show up in any of his writings. Not even close really. The closest comes from his Rule of 1221, Chapter XII on how his Franciscans should practice their preaching:
No brother should preach contrary to the form and regulations of the holy Church nor unless he has been permitted by his minister . . . All the Friars . . . should preach by their deeds.
Essentially, make sure your deeds match your words. While there’s a nice and good sentiment in the statement—be sure you live out the grace and truth of the Gospel—the notion as it is typically presented is neither practical, nor faithful to the Gospel of Christ. It does not align with St. Francis’ own practice. His first biographer, Thomas of Celeno, writing just three years after Francis’ death, quotes him instructing his co-workers in the Gospel thusly,
The preacher must first draw from secret prayers what he will later pour out in holy sermons; he must first grow hot within before he speaks words that are in themselves cold.
His biographers tell us Francis was quite a preacher, actually more along the lines of Jonathan Edwards or Billy Sunday than most of those who misquote him would like to think. He indeed lived faithful to Romans 10:14:
“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?”
Our actions must back up our words, but there must be words.
Being married boosts overall happiness similar to the boost one gets from having a substantially higher paycheck, with one leading scholar putting it at a 2.5 times payroll increase while another equates it to a specific dollar amount: an extra $100,000 dollars a year. Cohabitation did not create similar benefits.
“The Doctrine of the Trinity is not an embarrassing complication, a piece of technical theologizing of no importance to our daily existence. It stands at the very heart of our Christian life.” – Kallistos Ware, “The Trinity: Heart of Our Life”
For more from our research team, visit focusonthefamily.com/focusfindings