Thursday, March 29, 2007

Did you know that...

St Francis of Assisi is said to have put the Lord’s teaching into a very pithy phrase: “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words".
This sign show up a lot on various churches in this area, but I never knew who is considered the author, but several Net sites give the credit to St Francis of Assisi.


Josh Gelatt said...

The phrase doesn't occur in any of Francis' writings, or in any works about him within 200 years of his death. Most scholars believe the saying is genuinely "Franciscan", and may have been a restatement of something Francis actually did say, handed down orally. Francis was not known for such pithy, creative statements.

It is similar to the statement attributed to Augustine: "In Essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity". Good idea, and certainly an "ancient" Christian statement, but probably not from Augustine.

....but with all that said, whenever I use the quote you gave I still attribute it to Francis of Assisi. :o)

James E. Gelatt said...
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James E. Gelatt said...

So much for my net search! Perhaps it's a little bit like the works of Shakespeare in that many doubt his authorship for many solid reasons, yet the majority seem to accept his authorship. Who else might be a logical choice to have written the pithy statement? Is the authorship of another favorite of mine, the prayer "Lord Make Me An Instrument Of Thy Peace" also in doubt?

Josh Gelatt said...

Do you want me to ruin it for you? :o) As with the other, its not in his official works. Francis seems to have a knack for having things attributed to him.


Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
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;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.