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Centred on Christ

Francis and Clare centred their entire lives around Jesus Christ. When Francis wrote a Rule for his brothers he began, ‘This is the life of the Gospel of Jesus Christ’, and described the purpose of this life as being ‘to follow the teaching and footprints of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

Clare too, in the Rule she wrote for her sisters describes the purpose of their life as being ‘to observe the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

So they wanted their followers to shape their lives by the pattern of the gospel, and were inspired by the gospel stories of Jesus’ own disciples.
In their prayer too they were intensely Christ-centred. Thomas of Celano, an early biographer of Francis, wrote:



‘The brothers who lived with him know
that daily, constantly, talk of Jesus was
always on his lips, …
He was always with Jesus:
Jesus in his heart,
Jesus in his mouth,
Jesus in his ears,
Jesus in his eyes,
Jesus in his hands,
he bore Jesus always in his whole body’.
(Thomas of Celano, Life of Saint Francis,
115)

St Francis

And Clare’s writings are intoxicated with the love of Christ. She wrote to Agnes, a princess who had founded a Franciscan community in Prague:
‘… love Him totally Who gave Himself totally for Your love. His beauty the sun and moon admire; and of his gifts there is no limit in abundance, preciousness and magnitude.’ (Third letter to Agnes of Prague, 15b – 16)
So Franciscan spirituality is marked by a strong focus on Jesus Christ, and in particular on four aspects of his life and work – creation, incarnation, passion, and eucharist.