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Francis of Assisi and a Cosmic Spirituality

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Abstract In 1219 Francis of Assisi made an unprecedented and dramatic entry into an enemy city during hostilities between the Christian and Muslim forces. While Francis does not record his intention for this action, many authors have speculated that he either intended to convert the Sultan, or was hoping to be martyred. In this essay I shall look at accounts of this historic meeting and then describe how Francis himself had journeyed from a life of violence to one of peace. I shall then reflect on how, in the light of both these experiences, Francis had developed a spirituality of peace-making which was based on his unitive view of God and creation. The encounter between Francis and the Sultan, the Christians’ number one enemy at the time, is an example of the lengths to which the saint would go to live out his cosmic spirituality. Much can be learned from this for efforts at peace-making in the contemporary world.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, University of South Africa P. O. Box 392, 0003 UNISA Republic of South Africa


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