Next Monday, 4th October, is the Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), often called “il Poverello”. His dramatic life-story of is well-known. Born into a wealthy family, Francis was a soldier, a man of the world, until badly injured, he was captured, a prisoner of war. He escaped but, on the way, home went into the ruined church of San Damiano, where God gave him the grace of a extraordinary conversion. In a vision he heard Jesus say to him: Rebuild my Church. Instantly, he gave everything away, even his clothes, and embraced a life of radical poverty, simplicity and closeness to nature, to raise money for the project. Initially he thought the Lord wanted him to rebuild this particular church building, but later he came to realise that what the Lord was asking was for him to help rebuild the Church universal. Committed to radical poverty, full of joy and the Holy Spirit, a fantastic preacher, he attracted many to follow him and thus founded two of the fastest growing orders in Church history, the Friars Minor and with St. Clare the Poor Clares. Their work was mission and evangelisation, spiritually to rebuild Christ’s Church at a time of great decadence. Later in life, he was given the special grace of the stigmata. He was 45 when he died, and canonised just two years later. St. Francis is an important example for us today. Most of us enjoy a level of affluence and standard of living unimaginable to our forebears, let alone to those from the world’s South. For this, we should be truly thankful to God. But we should also remember our duty to be good stewards of what God has given us, stewards of creation, and to use what we have for God’s glory. We may not be called to espouse Lady Poverty in the radical way of St. Francis, but he reminds us that every disciple like Jesus must be radically dependent on God. The Holy Father, who has taken Francis as his patron, urges us to adopt a simpler life-style if we are to find in our lives the joy of the Holy Spirit and to give a clearer witness to Christ in our secular culture. Over these next days, let us at least review our priorities and choose to let go of whatever holds us back.