The Way to Eternal Life According to St. Francis

If you had read my pervious essay you have learned that I would believe the stories in The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi had I been reading them in the 1300s. But as I just re-read the assignment topic that I was to write about I realized that I had forgotten what the assignment really was. It was not about whether or not I would believe the stories in the 1300s, the question was: “If you had been listening to these stories in 1300, what would you have concluded from them is the way to gain eternal life?”

So here I am writing a whole other essay- oh joy! Now I must go on with the real assignment, so much for saving time by not going back to check and see if I had read the question right.


If I had listened to the stories of The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi in 1300 I would have concluded that the way to gain eternal life is by giving away everything that you own and to live in complete poverty (practically becoming a beggar).

Today, however, I do not believe that to have eternal life you must live in poverty.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

-Jesus of Nazareth (John 10:10)

“When I look at the night sky and see the works of Your fingers-

the moon and the stars You have set in place-

what are mortals that You think of us?

For you made us only a little lower than God,

and You crowned us with glory and honor.”

-Psalm 8:3-5

“Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.”

-Genesis 1:31


From my perspective those verses say that God wants us to live our lives abundantly. When we live productively (or according to God’s purpose for our lives) we will be able to give more to other people who really are poor and we will be able to share God’s love with them. Yes, we can give away every possession that we own but then we will have to depend on others to help us survive. If everyone were to depend on another person (or God) for aid in order to have eternal life then there would be no one to give help to the people living in poverty. Everybody who wanted eternal life would be poor and the world would gradually become very, very poor. There would be much less creativity, purpose, identity, and destiny in people’s lives. Without purpose life is not much fun and worth living. My heavenly Father (and hopefully yours too), God, wants to speak purpose and identity into every life; He wants us to live our lives “to the full.”

Things like greed and pride can definitely arise if you are completely focused on living life the way you want to or making money solely to satisfy your own desires. So in order to avoid that greed from occurring I recommend you do some serious thinking and consulting with your heavenly Father.



Photo Credit: French Press Mornings

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