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Lenten Meditation for Today: St. Francis Brings Peace at Gubbio

A story taken and edited from the “Life of St. Francis” at the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi in San Francisco

As Francis’ reputation for holiness and peace spread throughout Italy, people called upon him to resolve their disputes and deliver them from danger and violence. Scholars have long thought that a popular narrative of Francis exercising miraculous power over the world of animals (in this particular story, the ferocious “Wolf of Gubbio” is pacified by Francis) has at its core a factual account of no lesser spiritual importance. The term “Wolf of Gubbio” may have referred to a notorious outlaw of the period who raided livestock and robbed people. Even when confronted by armed villagers, the “Wolf” prevailed possibly because he was better armed than the villagers. Francis, however, neither confronted the outlaw with weapons nor threatened him with sanctions. Rather, he challenged the robber in the name of the Lord to reconcile with his victims and so to experience the peace that only Christ can bring. Thus, the legend of the “Wolf of Gubbio” points to a more enduring dimension of Francis’ historical ministry, the reconciliation of sinners and their reintegration into the fabric of social life through the grace of forgiveness.

~submitted by Cindy

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