Saint Francis Solano (1549-1610)
for July 17
Saint Francis Solano was born in Spain in 1549. He came from a prominent family and, as a student, once broke up a deadly duel. At the age of 20, Saint Francis joined the Franciscans, studied philosophy and theology, and developed commendable musical talents. He chose a life of austere simplicity, prayer, silence and fasting. He never wore shoes, never ate meat, always wore a profoundly uncomfortable hair shirt, and usually lived in self-made clay huts. He became widely known for his fearless service to the poor and the sick during an epidemic and even allegedly healed many sick people. Hoping to find martyrdom, he asked to be sent to Africa to preach. His request was rejected, and he instead traveled to modern-day South America. He converted many indigenous residents, learned many different languages, and often played the violin to those to whom he preached. He was highly respected and cherished. He also fought against the oppression of the indigenous population. He was canonized in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII.
Image via Wikipedia
It is easy to forget that being a Christian is only partially about accepting a system of beliefs. Arguably more integral to the Christian faith is truly living, from moment to moment, the truths of Christianity. The life of Saint Francis Solano is a testament to the life of a Christian. He perhaps taught us more about Christianity by his selfless and courageous service to the sick and rejected during a lethal epidemic than he taught us during any of his teachings or sermons on the doctrines of Christianity. In what ways do you embody and exemplify the Christian faith through the way that you live? Think of the many ways in which you could teach others about Christianity not through your words, but through the way that you live and treat others.
Ask Jesus to teach you how to truly live as a Christian and be an example to others of the power and truth of Christianity.