Humility: He asked him to step on his neck

St. Francis is one of great heroes of the faith. He died in 1226. I’ve always been inspired by his example of humility, sincerity, love, poverty and charity.

There’s a little known story about an interaction he had with someone named Friar Bernard. Apparently, Francis had a negative thought about the Friar. Upon realizing this, and wanting to punish himself for it, he commanded the Friar to do something.

When Francis lay down, the Friar was to put one foot on his neck, and the other on his mouth, and step over him three times, all the while verbally chastising him for his pride!

The Friar was surprised and troubled at this extreme request. But because the Friar had so much respect for St. Francis, and because he had promised to do whatever he asked, he did it!

Maybe you’re wondering why I’m telling you this bizarre story.

Let me be clear: I’m not suggesting you get someone to step on your throat and chastise you! Lol

What I like is Francis’ extreme humility. Part of the reason he was able to be so loving and charitable toward others, is because he took his own sin seriously, was 100% unpretentious, and did his best to not assume the worst about other people’s motives.

In Luke 14:11 Jesus says, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

So be humble. Take your own sin seriously, be unpretentious, and do you best to not assume the worst about other people’s motives.

That helped Francis—and it can help you—be loving and charitable toward others.

By Matthew Ruttan

–Today’s story is told in: The Little Flowers of St. Francis, Chapter 3.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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