Hope in the Lives of the Saints // Saint Francis of Assisi
Have you ever felt like you may be the only person who struggles with the same sin over and over again? Well, you are not alone. I know the frustration of committing a particular sin, going to Confession, falling back into that sin, and repeating that cycle again and again until you begin to wonder if there’s even any point!
I felt great shame and discouragement and wondered if the priest must be tired of hearing the same confession every time. I began to wonder, “How long is it going to be this time before I mess up again? Am I even truly repentant if I keep falling back into this sin? I might as well give in to that temptation if I’m just going to end up back here anyway.”
Saint Francis of Assisi is a great example of a man who struggled with sin. He would throw himself onto a nearby thorn bush in an effort to avoid temptation, or perhaps to serve as penance. Maybe this method is a bit intense, but it was a way he could bear the burden of his sinful nature.
One day, Saint Francis struggled with another sinful thought and threw himself onto the thorn bush, only to discover that the Lord had literally removed all the thorns! To this day, thornless roses grow at that site where this exact bush had been.
I find this story to be incredibly powerful in knowing that the Lord sees our willingness and our desire to fight temptation. He doesn’t focus on the ugliness of the sin, but rather on our hearts that strive for holiness and obedience to Him. I truly believe that He delights in us for the very faithful act of going to Confession. I imagine His heart must burst with pride and joy as we humbly approach Him and ask for His forgiveness and guidance to start again. He wants to free us from the chains of sin and the thorns that prick our sides.
We may sin again and again, but we can always get up and try again. And that very step of recommitting ourselves, no matter how many times it takes, is not placing hope in ourselves, but in the relentless love of our Lord, who never gives up on us.
Let Us Pray
Christ Jesus, we love You! Thank You for the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, who never ceased turning to You for mercy. May we, like Francis, never give into discouragement or despair, but open ourselves evermore to your grace of self-discipline and mercy. Amen!
Have you ever felt discouraged in your battle against sin? What encouraged you to keep turning to Jesus?
Are you drawn to a particular Saint who never gave up in their quest for virtue? Ask them to pray for you today!