Go and Repair My House

Quite a few people, including Peggy Noonan, are referring to Bonaventure’s Life of Francis. The famous anecdote about Francis hearing a voice coming from a cross directing him to “Go, and repair my house, which is falling into ruin” is from Bonaventure’s Life.

Bonaventure could not have known Francis personally—Francis died when Bonaventure was a small child. It’s likely he was acquainted both with Brother Leo and Thomas of Celano. How well is not known.

Bonaventure’s Life of Francis is frequently given as a primary source on Francis but I’m skeptical. It’s too much the life of a saint. It’s too much a legend. As important a work as it is, I consider Bonaventure’s Life of Francis to be a secondary source and, since my post yesterday focused on the historical Francis, I omitted it there.

12 comments… add one
  • michael reynolds

    So, as I understand it, Francis walks into a church where he is mistaken for a contractor.

    Boy, can anyone gush like Peggy Noonan? She knows nothing about this guy. No one knows anything about this guy. Everything at this point is guesswork and speculation and projection. The few actual data points are not universally lovely. It will be interesting to see if more comes out about the Argentine dirty war.

  • jan

    It’s interesting, no one knew much about Obama either, when he first came on the scene. But, the progressives, nevertheless, adopted the mantra of ‘hope and change’ with ease, embracing this blank slate of a man with excited fervor.

    Now, when someone gushes over the possibilities of ‘hope and change’ with a new Pope, it’s caustically described as “guesswork and speculation and projection”?

  • michael reynolds


    Obama ran for election. He told us what he was about and what he wanted to do. He told us in thousands of stump speeches and town halls and policy papers. He had already been a state senator and a US senator and had written his autobiography. Is there some equivalent for Francis? No.

    That whole “we didn’t know Obama” is dog whistle bullshit left over from the first campaign. We knew at least as much about Obama as we did George W. Bush when he was running. But of course Mr. Bush is white, and thus assumed not to be “other.”

    The new pope came up in a rigidly hierarchical and secretive organization, and he did not run or attempt to explain himself, so we know very, very little.

  • TastyBits

    @michael reynolds

    Really!! The “other” crap. You should have stopped at President Obama being a politician.


    President Obama is a politician. Pope Francis I is a religious leader. Each operates in his own sphere. Pope Francis I does not need to explain himself to detractors, and President Obama is not required to bring salvation to people. Also, the President does not need to acknowledge this event.

    I would not worry about the “smears” against the Pope. These will be forgotten in a few weeks, but the Church will go on. Rep. Ryan could use your help, but he has a two year span.

  • jan

    “That whole “we didn’t know Obama” is dog whistle bullshit left over from the first campaign. “

    Ah, Michael, believe what you will. However, his stump speeches versus his behavior as a leader are vastly different.


    I’m not worried about the Pope smears. Actually, I never heard of the guy before last week. However, just as I gave Obama a small window of having the ‘benefit of the doubt,’ when he was first elected, so I am giving the new Pope Francis.

    Plus, I really like the name he has taken, especially if it is any indication of his belief system and future demeaner in this powerful religious position.

  • TastyBits


    This is the game being played. Those who have no use for any religious figure will complain about them. The pedophile scandal is totally different, but that is not their complaints. Ignore them, and they will fade away.

  • Cstanley

    Perhaps not true but it’s a satisfying little story and cute metaphor. Yes, Peggy gushed, but that’s what she does.

    The San Diamano crucifix that figures in that story is gorgeous. We have a replica in our parish sanctuary and I’d love to see the real thing.

  • jan

    Since this is somewhat of a religious topic, I can’t help but post this link to Sacred mystery blockbuster ratings for ‘The Bible’ confound Hollywood.

    Anything that puts Hollywood in a dither, is find with me. And, I congratulate Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey for going against the odds, and taking that leap of faith.

    BTW, Ms. Roma used to co-star with Della Reese in the series, “Touched by an Angel”, that ran for 9 years — not bad for another kind-hearted, religiously based script. I liked watching that series from time to time, too.

  • Icepick

    Yeah, we knew the Big O was going to cut the deficit in half (he told us so), that he was going to stop Bush’s surveillance programs in the US (he told us so), that he was going to fix the economy and get people back to work (he told us so), that he would not use the individual mandate as it was a bad idea (he derided Hillary for proposing such a thing), that he was going to have a transparent government (he told us no bill would be signed into law without it being available to the public for several days to read, that more information would be made public, et cetera), that wealth inequality was a bad thing, that he wouldn’t sell out to special interests or have a revolving door with lobbyists and donors, and on and on and on. He told us he was against gay marriage (and in Reynold’s book makes a person about as bad as Hitler – unless the person is a Democrat, of course). He told us he would stop involvement in foreign adventures, before helping to overthrow several governments (including an allied government) and destabilizing a large region. Obama said he was against torture and has been true to his word: he favors assassinations instead, which is clearly the morally superior position, especially when women and children and American citizens are killed.

    So come on, jan, quit doubting that Obama is anything other than exactly what he claims to be. Whatever that is at the moment.

  • michael reynolds


    Show me where that Washington Times article quoted any Hollywood source saying they were shocked. In fact, show me anything fact-based aside from the ratings.

    Here’s actual Hollywood reaction: http://www.deadline.com/2013/03/historys-the-bible-opens-huge-with-13-1-million-viewers/

    Sorry to disrupt the self-pitying right-wing narrative, but let me explain something to you: Hollywood loves money. Jesus money, Satan money, Lincoln money, Hitler money, they don’t care so long as it’s green.

  • jan

    So come on, jan, quit doubting that Obama is anything other than exactly what he claims to be. Whatever that is at the moment.


    Thanks for going over some of Obama’s 180 degress about-faces, from his campaign rhetoric to his actual actions. It’s personally tiredsome to keep reiterating all of the twists and turns of his many words!

    Show me where that Washington Times article quoted any Hollywood source saying they were shocked.

    Pardon me while I stiffle a laugh, Michael. The above is from someone who never posts a sentence, with a hair out of place, in sarcastic wording?

    For clarification purposes, ‘shock’ was your word, not mine, nor was it included in the Washington Times piece. I did say ‘dither,’ though, which was my own extemporaneous insertion. However, the Times did add the following to their editorial selection, posing a measure of surprise to this venture’s success, given it’s lack of usual Hollywood glitz and fawning by critics:

    Makes no sense. It’s not as if “The Bible” got any help from TV critics. Its Metacritic scores averaged just 44, the low end of the “mixed reviews” range as measured by the review aggregation site.

    No critical love. No marketing oomph. No-name cast. Together equal — what else? — ratings smash!

    It’s pretty well understood, Michael, that Hollywood doesn’t have Christianity oozing from it’s pours. It’s also a known fact that Hollywoodites are primarily a leftist, secular group — especially in the upper ranks of it’s major stars and producers. Therefore, a movie or series, of this orientation, tapping into even modest ratings is kind of a David vs Goliath confounding event.

    But, you’re also right, that if there is money to be made, capitalistic Hollywood will hold it’s nose, grab the money, while continuing to mock what is making them a profit.

  • jan

    As a person who has seen events happen having no scientific/medical basis, I tend to believe in miracles. Apparently, there were some incidents surfacing, during filming ‘The Bible,’ which also appeared to have few earthly explanations.

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