As a blogger for booksneeze.com, I had the priviledge of reading a special biographical book written by Robert West on Saint Francis by Thomas Nelson publishers.Robert West's book is rich in detail and culture about Saint Francis, the man, as well as the society he had come from. One notable distinction, first and formost, must be made between a biography about a midevil spiritual figure such as Saint Francis of Assisi in contrast to a political figure such as Abraham Lincoln. A biography about a spiritual figure, such as Saint Francis, will by nature, be more subjective, and less reliant on historical or objective fact than a story about an American preseident, for example. This is something the reader must be prepared for. An example to consider would be the discussion of the alleged stigmata signs as well as other miracles attributed to Saint Francis during and after his lifetime. Obviously the evidences presented for these alleged miracles are not as concrete as for example as physical document or photo that may be present when discussing the accomplishments in the biography of a political figure. Therefore much of the information contained, especially that of a spiritual or supernatural nature is based on conjecture, second hand stories and anecdotes and therfore can not be proven historically or scientifically.
Furthermore, Paul himself offers many warnings in his new testament letters of the bible of false teachings, as well as false visions that are miraculous enough even to fool the elite. Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light, according to the bible. Furthermore,as believers, we are under no obligation to believe in any one else's spiritual vision, other than what is contained in the gospel message itself. As for belief in any other spiritual matters that is up to our individual discretion, if in fact the specific message, vision, apparition, etc... has passed our scutiny and conscious as being in accordance with the biblical message. Francis of Assisi, was a comendable and inspriational historical figure- of that I have no doubt. Would Francis of Assisi if he were alive today, advocate such iconic devotion to himself? Did he in fact believe he had the power to have miracles occur through his name? Or perhaps, in his humility and gentle nature, would he say that only through the name of Jesus could any miracle be accomplished? We are all called to be saints, according to the bible. As for the miracles attributed to Francis of Assisi, during and after his lifetime, I would listen to Paul's timeless advice in the bible: Galations 1:10 when considering the claims of supernatural visions and signs.