The Little Flowers of St. Francis Themes

Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

True joy, peace, and happiness are found only in loving, knowing, and serving God and one’s neighbor with true humility, simplicity, compassion, meekness, patience, and obedience to Christ. To read The Little Flowers is to discover a man in love with God, lost in the joy of relationship to Christ, the greatest of all lovers. Francis’s life reveals what is happening in the heart of God: not omnipotence but humility; not cold omniscience but endless self-revelation; not detached judgment but relentless welcoming and giving. There seems no bottom to Francis’s grateful happiness, no matter the amount of his suffering. Eyewitnesses tell us that he was so filled with gladness he would pick up a stick and place it across his arm like a bow on a violin and play, dance, and sing to the Lord in an ecstasy of joy. Bonaventure recounts that even on his deathbed, two years after mystically receiving the stigmata of Christ in his own body, Francis wanted to go forward again because he had still done so little to heed and obey the call of Christ. Such joyful obedience and humility, love and simplicity, shine through The Little Flowers of St. Francis so that to read it today is to be carried across time into the presence of Francis and his followers and to want to join them in a more faithful, less selfish, more joyful following after Christ.