What did St. Francis mean by “Preach the Gospel at All Times?”

I was really impressed by my friend Jamie Arpin-Ricci‘s article over at the Huffington Post. Check out this excerpt and then follow the link to the rest of the article!

Source: Huffington Post

“Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”

This is, perhaps, the best known and most commonly quoted statement made by St. Francis of Assisi. It might surprise some to discover that he did not, in fact, say this. At least not as far as we know. Whether he said it or not, the idea has taken hold of the imagination of many, some who embrace it as great wisdom and some who reject it as compromise. While Francis never made the statement, it does reflect something of a Franciscan quality. However, the saint’s actual words were far more nuanced:

“It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”

“…As for me, I desire this privilege from the Lord, that never may I have any privilege from man, except to do reverence to all, and to convert the world by obedience to the Holy Rule rather by example than by word.”

From these words (and his example), it is hard to deny the deep commitment St. Francis had to both the proclamation and embodiment of the Gospel. He lived deep within the tension between the two. That tension is very much present in our current context. Some will be concerned by how the first quote might be too easily co-opted by the postmodern tendency to mistrust of words. Indeed, if the quote is used to diminish the importance of verbal preaching/proclamation, then it is a betrayal of the spirit of St. Francis. Yet others fear that too much of Christianity has become nothing more than a product of the Enlightenment, where belief is equated with the affirmation of propositional truths with little demand for lived expression. READ THE REST HERE

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