Today is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. I heard today that some historians think Francis may have suffered from a bipolar disorder. Or maybe from Post-Traumatic Stress. He wanted to be a Soldier once. He saw comrades die in battle and he was taken prisoner. Held hostage for about a year, till his dad finally paid the ransom, he may have come out with some psychological issues. I feel so bad for him. But St. Francis, though he suffered, found solace and comfort in his Lord and Savior. And his way of peace, of humility, of seeing God’s sustaining love in all of His creation, changed the world. Or certainly the lives of many people in the world who followed his Christ-centered life. Francis tried to emulate the Way of Jesus with his life. He brought many along with him, in his lifetime and after he transitioned Home. Men and women, young and old, have found much to admire in Francis of Assisi. I guess some of the stories about him are what have brought up these hypotheses of what behavioral health problems he could have endured.

I’m sure he bore them patiently, just as he did the stigmata which he experienced for the last couple of years of his life. I think with eternal realities so clearly before him, any pain and suffering here, whether in his psyche or his body, were considered as nothing to avoid, but experiences to endure until the Father called him home. Until his Brother Jesus came to get him. He would withdraw from the other Friars sometimes and stay in a cave all alone. Maybe because he knew that no one else would understand but Jesus. And so he would go to spend time alone with Him and give Him all of his anxieties and pain. He’d offer all of it up and leave it with His Lord. He’d contemplate Christ crucified and unite his suffering with Jesus on the cross. Such a strong spiritual experience would draw Francis back again and again.

We can’t know why we suffer sometimes or why someone else does. But we can hand it all over to God and trust. This is a song by Building 429 that I have always loved since I first heard it. I think it was in 2010. This is the song that came to mind as I listened to the description of the suffering of Francis. I hope you find it comforting if you’re suffering or have or will again. It’s the human condition; you probably will at some point. That’s just our mortal life, yes? Contemplate these words. Remember who loves you and who is with you and who cries when you cry, rejoices in your joys, never leaves you. Turn to him. You don’t have to go to a cave. Just reach out for Jesus right now, where you are. He’s with you always. Until the end of the age…

My world is closing in on the inside

But I’m not showing it

When all I am is crying out,

I hold it in and fake a smile

Still I’m broken

Only one can understand, and only one can hold the hand

Of the broken

When no one else knows how I feel

Your love for me is proven real

When no one else cares where I’ve been

You run to me with outstretched hands

And You hold me in Your arms again

I need no explanation of “why me?”

I just need confirmation

Only You could understand the emptiness inside my head

I am falling

I’m falling down upon my knees to find the One who gives me peace

I am flying,

Lord I am flying

I have come to You in search of faith

‘Cause I can’t see beyond this place

Oh, You are God and I am man

So I’ll leave it in Your hands

Songwriters: Jason Ingram / Jason Roy / Jason David Roy

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