Because He Loved Christ First & then the Muslims (TGH2)
Published October 4, 2018 at 9:53 AM
181004 - Homily - Because He Loved Christ First & then the Muslims (TGH2)
Content Copyright Belongs to Church of Saint Bede the Venerable
Homily - Because He Loved Christ First & then the Muslims (TGH2)
My Dear Brethren in Christ:
Today, we celebrate the life of Saint Francis!
Saint Francis was
- an inspiring,
- Catholic who loved the truth and sought to boldly bring Jesus to everyone
- even those who were blinded by heresy.
The story is told of Saint Francis and his attempt to convert the Sultan.
At one time, Saint Francis accompanied the crusaders to Damietta, Egypt with the goal of having a private audience with Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil who was the Islamic ruler of Egypt.
- Prior to the battle of Damietta, Francis received a prophetic vision that the crusaders would lose the battle.
- He hesitatingly revealed his vision which was dismissed.
- The battle went forward, and the crusaders lost.
- The crusaders losses were many:
- John the Baptist gained many companions that day due to the great many beheadings.
- "This horror befell about fifty horsemen, of the Knights Templar, thirty of the Germans, and over twenty Hospitallers."
- It was the loss at Damietta that gave Saint Francis the opportunity to finally meet the Sultan face to face in an attempt to convert him to the Christian faith.
- Saint Francis sought permission to enter the camp of the Sultan from the Papal Legate who was hesitant to grant permission since al Kamil had reportedly stated that "anyone who brought him the head of a Christian should be awarded with Byzantine gold pieces".
- Eventually when confronted with the insistence and persistence of St Francis, the Papal legate allowed Francis and one companion, Brother Illuminato, to go into the Muslim camp.
- Upon entering the camp Francis and Illuminato were treated very roughly.
- They were insulted and beaten yet showed no fear even when threatened with torture and death. They kept repeating to their captors the word for "SULTAN" and were eventually dragged before him.
- Saint Francis and Illuminato informed the Sultan that they were messengers sent from God.
- They said to the Sultan: "If you do not wish to believe we will commend your soul to God because we declare that if you die while holding to your law you will be lost; God will not accept your soul.”
- “For this reason we have come to you. They added that they would demonstrate the truth of Christianity to al-Kamil and his imams.
And, Al-kamil willingly listened to St Francis and permitted them great liberty in their preaching.
- The Sultan told his imams that beheading Francis and Illuminato would be an unjust recompense for their efforts, since they had arrived with the praiseworthy intention of seeking his personal salvation.
- He said to Francis: "I am going to go counter to what my religious advisors demand and will not cut off your heads...you have risked your own lives in order to save my soul."
- The Franciscans were the guests of the Sultan for many days. During that time the Sultan made certain that the men's wounds were taken care of.
- It might seem unusual that the Sultan would seemingly be so attracted to Christianity we must remember that Francis was one of the most charismatic and remarkable saints that the Church has ever seen.
- One historian writes wrote that: al-Kamil before dismissing the friar, privately asked him to pray that God would reveal to me the law and the faith that is more pleasing to Him.
- Illuminato remarked that the Sultan, after hearing Francis fervently preach the Gospel, always had the Christian faith imprinted on his heart."
- According to the Little Flower of St Francis which is a widely read historical account of the first friars lives, Francis prophesied that the Sultan would have a deathbed conversion.
- After Francis' death he appeared to two friars and instructed them to find the Sultan and teach him the faith.
- It is also reported in the Little Flower that the Sultan instructed his sentinels to watch for two friars in the ports.
- When the friars were found the Sultan received them with great joy. "The friars after instructing al-Kamil in the faith, administered the Sacrament of Baptism to the dying Sultan and 'his soul was saved through the merits of St Francis'".
- St Francis did not seek "dialogue" with the Sultan in order to minimize or diminish the differences that existed between the Catholic and the Muslim faith. Instead he boldly proclaimed the truths of Christianity.
- Although Francis was not on a formal mission of peace, converting the muslims was his attempt to bring about peace.
- "Francis like the crusaders wanted to liberate the holy places of Palestine from Muslim rule. What was different was his strategy...He wanted their total submission to the Christian faith."
- If only there were even a few zealous Catholic missionaries who were willing to risk martyrdom by preaching Christ to the Muslims as boldly as Francis did--the face of the world could change.
"He who will have lost his life for My sake shall save it for eternal life." (Luke 9:24; Matthew 25:46).
"Do not fear those who kill the body...and after that have no more that they can do." (See Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:4).
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
May the Lord grant us the grace to follow after Saint Francis, whose life is a manual for our tumultuous times.
Saint Francis of Assisi: Pray for us!
Lord Jesus Christ,Savior of the world: Have mercy on us!
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ST FRANCIS AND THE CONVERSION OF THE MUSLIMS: http://www.realclearreligion.com/index_files/90a6cf37d7a46ec865eea7397276f2d8-349.html