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English 10, Lesson 145 – Little Flowers: How to Attain Eternal Life?

This week in class, I read The Little Flowers of St. Francis, which was a biography of the life of Saint Francis, the creator of the Franciscan order.  The poem came out in the 1300s and described the daily life of those who joined the order and some peculiar things the Saint did (like giving sermons to birds).  In this essay I am going to answer the question, if you had been listening to these stories in 1300, what would you have concluded from them is the way to gain eternal life?

In the book, it is obvious that poverty and suffering is a very large part of being in the order.  Saint Francis emphasized poverty quite a bit throughout his life, and it was reflected in the book.  However, he also emphasized how not everyone can be in poverty, or their society would collapse.  The Saint and his followers lived a life of self-denial as a way to pay for their sins.  It is said that they genuinely enjoyed suffering injustices done to them.

Saint Francis also preached about humility.  He said that being humble is something the common man can be in his daily life, unlike the abject poverty the followers of the Franciscan order subjected themselves to.  He also talked about prayer and virtue, as a way to gain knowledge and protection from God as well as to get closer to Him spiritually.

If I was a reader from the 1300s, I would have concluded that the way to eternal life is to either join a group similar to the Franciscan order, or stay humble and close to God in whatever way I can.  From what is described, I doubt anyone, including me, would be overly keen on starting a life of self-deprivation like the ones the Saint and his followers led.

Thanks for reading!


Author: sophiaelahirpc

10th Grade student in the Ron Paul Curriculum. Full-time teen writer living in Singapore.

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