By Bo Sanchez (www.kerygmafamily.com)
I love Assisi. It’s simply gorgeous. But I guess you know that I’m biased. (More on this later.)
It’s a 2000-year old Roman city atop a hill, with winding cobbled roads and fortress walls. But it was St. Francis and St. Claire that has made this place extremely special some 800 years ago.
If you’ve been reading my books, you’d know that Francis has such a tremendous impact on my life. Because I was 13 years old when I read his biography, and my life has never been the same. Instantly, I wanted to pray like him, dress like him, sing like him, and serve the poor like him.
After reading his life story, I gave away my clothes to the poor, and welcomed street kids and abandoned elderly people at home—giving my mother one terrible headache after another. I also tried to mimic his “beggar look”, which didn’t make me very popular with girls, but I figured that was the idea. (I called it an anti-attraction device. As if I needed it.)
In the meantime, I lived and served in the slums. Like Francis, I preached in the streets, befriending bums, addicts, gamblers, and alcoholics. I will never forget living in a tiny room with 9 people, sharing a muddy toilet with four other families.
Eighteen years later, with my friends who also loved Francis, we built Anawim, a home for the abandoned elderly built on a 5-hectare property. I lived there with the poor for three whole years, until I finally got married. We named our Anawim chapel St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, and his brown statue is on the left side of the altar.
As you can see, Francis turned my life upside down.
Visiting his hometown—where everything took place—felt like going home.
I prayed at the tiny chapel that he built with his own hands, after he heard God tell him, “Rebuild my Church”. (Much later, Francis realized that God wasn’t referring to the tiny, rundown chapel—but the people themselves.)
Can you imagine?
Francis changed my life—and the lives of countless others who fell in love with God because of him.
One simple life, lived radically, can bless the world.
Friend, your life can do the same. By the way you live, you can change the lives of many people.
But you need to live radically.
Unless you do, nothing much will happen.
Ask yourself: How radical is my love?