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Meeting the Leper
Murray Bodo, O.F.M.
Source: Francis: The Journey and the Dream
Published: Sunday, February 10, 2013

One of the defining moments in Francis’ conversion was his encounter with a leper. He knew that he needed to confront something deep within his soul that was keeping him from following Christ. We might pause to ask what fear we need to confront. In his last words to his brothers, his Testament, he said: “When I was in sin, it appeared too bitter to me to see lepers; and the Lord himself led me among them, and that which seemed bitter to me was changed for me into sweetness of soul and body.”

Here is Fr. Murray Bodo’s poetic account of the scene: Francis remembered the first victory of his new heart. All his life long he had panicked when he met a person with leprosy. And then one day on the road below Assisi, he did one of those surprising things that only the power of Jesus’ Spirit could explain. He reached out and touched such a one, the very sight of whom nauseated him. ... Trembling, he threw his arms around the leper’s neck and kissed his cheek. Then, like the feeling he remembered when he first began to walk, he was happy and confident; he stood erect and calm and loved this man in his arms. (Francis: The Journey and the Dream, by Murray Bodo, O.F.M.)

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