Our beloved Saint Francis did not start out life as a fiercely devout and pious man. His early years were spent indulging in the extravagances available to those born to money and privilege. As he approached adulthood, however, he found himself in crisis, searching for deeper meaning in his life.
This inner conflict led him to the deserted church of San Damiano in his hometown of Assisi. It was here, praying before the San Damiano Crucifix, that Francis first heard the Word of God. “Francis, go and rebuild my house, which is falling into ruins.”
When Francis heard these words, he responded by quickly taking up a collection to restore the churches of Assisi, which were in disrepair. Through his efforts, many chapels and churches were rebuilt.
Francis eventually realized that God was not merely asking him to restore chapels, but to rebuild His Church around the world as a community. Francis responded with decisive action. He embraced a life of poverty, prayer and service, and began to preach the Word of God.