Saint Francis and the challenge of nonviolence

Carlo Carretto, a Little Brother of Jesus, wrote an amazing reflection on Saint Francis,  I, Francis, speaking as if he were the saint of Assisi. In one chapter he reflects on the famous story of Saint Francis taming the wolf of Gubbio.


A wolf had been ravaging the town and the people sought the help of Francis. Francis went out to meet the wolf who stopped in the middle of charging the saint and meekly greeted Francis. Francis explained that the wolf was ravaging the town because he was hungry. He arranged a pact between the townspeople and the wolf, that lasted until the wolf died, fed everyday by the people of Gubbio.

Here are some reflections of Carlo Carretto, in the voice of Francis.

“What is extraordinary in the incident of the wolf of Gubbio is not that the wolf grew tame, but that the people of Gubbio grew tame — and that they ran out to meet the cold and hungry wolf not with pruning knives and hatchets but with bread and hot porridge.
“Here is the miracle of love: to discover that all creation is one, flung out into space by a God who is a Father, and that if you present yourself to it as he does — unarmed and full of peace — creation will recognize you and meet you with a smile.”

“Here is the absolutely basic secret, hidden in God’s whole place for humanity.
“To believe in the possibility of the impossible.
“To hope in things against all hope.
“TO love what does not seem lovable.
“God’s proposition to humanity is always wrapped in the veil of this mystery.”

“If human beings go to war, it is because they fear someone.
“Remove the fear, and you shall reestablish trust. And you shall have peace.
“Nonviolence is fear’s destruction.”

Saint Francis, pray that God may make us, His People, artisans of peace.

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