The Spirit of St Francis is essentially the spirit of the free child who, knowing himself to be loved, is adventurous, trusting and creative. The Franciscan spirit was first released in a Perugian prison, and when fully freed, took the simple command of Jesus seriously to build the church, even when it was in ruins. There is no restraining this spirit because it is uncluttered and knows no fetters – running amok amongst the adult church, taking God at his word, resisting the corruption of power. G. K. Chesterton spoke of Francis as ‘Le Jongleur de Dieu.’
“There was to be found ultimately in such service a freedom, almost amounting to frivolity. It was comparable to the condition of the jongleur because it almost amounted to frivolity. The jester could be free when the knight was rigid; and it was possible to be a jester in the service which is perfect freedom.” (p78)
This article offers the insights of recent research into how adult faith is resourced when the inner-child is revived. It details four steps to reclaim the inner-child which are then used to discuss three ways in which the twenty-first century can learn from the example of St. Francis.