Pilgrim Encounters Sultan
Many experts on the life of St. Francis have speculated as to why Francis travelled to Egypt at that time. Was it simply a pilgrimage to the Holy Sites? There are those who think he wanted to be martyred. Some believe he wanted to share his gift of peace with the sultan. Hagiographers writing to promote Francis’ piety and worthiness to sainthood prefer the martyr theory. No one really knows for sure the reason for his journey but we do know that Francis believed he could spread peace by being humble and submitting himself to others in brotherly love.
We do know his foray into the sultan’s territory did not bring him martyrdom and that since his visit with Al-Malik, the Franciscan order has been welcome in Muslim territory. In fact, the Holy Land Franciscans are celebrating over 800 years of living, working, and guiding pilgrims in the Holy Land. The only restriction given by the sultan to Francis was that the brothers refrain from preaching against Mohammad.
Can you imagine what the world would be like today if all the ambassadors of Christ to the Muslims were models of Francis of Assisi? by Debbie Richard ofs
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