Francis Go Repair My House

Francis go repair my house which as you can see is all in ruins

"Francis, go repair my house, which, as you can see, is all in ruins."

These are the words that Francis, a rich merchant's son and a young man in deep spiritual crisis, heard repeated three times in 1205, while he was praing in tears before the crucifix of St. Damian's Church in Assisi. (Francis: Life and Revolution, pp. 167).

And Francis would go to found the Order of the Franciscans, seeking to repair what was broken in the Roman Catholic Church (of which much was broken).

In the film, Brother Son, Sister Moon by Franco Zeffirelli, the most memorable scene for me is when the rag-tag Francis and his first followers have gone to the Vatican, to appeal to the Pope about their mission to the poorest of the poor. Francis is being opposed by many and he wants the Pope to affirm that he Francis has rightly understood the gospel.

Zeffirelli show a profound contrast between the pomp, splendour, and vast wealth of the Vatican Curia (rulling group of cardinals, arch-bishops, etc.) and the poor, simple, humble Franciscans. Zeffirelli is asking us to decide:

  • Which is the true church?
  • Which is the real Gospel?
  • Which is the way of Jesus?

Brother Sun Sister MoonFrancis of Assisi was called by God to repair his church that had fallen prey to the oldest of temptations - money, power, pride, sex, status, prestige, vanity...

Jorge Bergoglio did what NO OTHER POPE HAS DONE and that is - take the name of Francis to define what will be the nature of his time as Pope.

It was unmistakable!

Pope Francis knows he is called to repair the house of the Lord. The repair is the repair if a soul that is terribly sick and corrupted at so many levels. I do not speak as an angry critic, just as an observer who repeats what so many others (both inside and outside of the Vatican) have said before. 

Money, Sex and Power are terrible temptations that come to every leader. When they come to and corrupt religious, spiritual leaders, they are terrible in their consequences.

That is the challenge facing Pope Francis. It will take years of love, labor and anointing to change a system and structure as vast as the Roman Catholic Church. Pray that he is given the necessary years to repair the house of the Lord.

It is a challenge that is also facing 21st Century Evangelicals, Charismatics, Pentecostals and really - all churches everywhere. The temptations of money, sex and power never go away. As worldliness increases, the church has a choice. To either go the way of the world and succumb to those ways... or to stand firm and live in the light.

With the many striking and public moral failures (and there are many more that are just as striking, but not brought to the public), those who are called to spiritual leadership are all called by God, "Repair my house."

I would say this. All who are called to repair the house of the Lord, must have a repaired soul and heart themselves. There is a great internal change that must happen for any leader who will seek the similar external changes involved in repairing the house of the Lord.

Pope Francis is a leader of great humility, a servant's heart, profound forgiveness, deep love, amazing courage and faith, and unquenchable joy. If you and I do not have those same qualities, we will not be able to see them restored to the organizations, institutions, teams, ministries and relationships that need repaired.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International
BrianRice@lcileaders.org