Pax et Bonum et Semper Fidelis or Don’t Call St. Francis A Sissy!

You’ve no doubt heard of St. Francis of Assisi. This Catholic saint lived during the Medieval Period and was known for being a man of peace and caring for the poor.

In the modern era, however, it looks like things may have changed. I’m wondering if I missed the Quentin Tarantino version of the Life of Saint Francis, one in which the titular character threatens to “get medieval on your assisi”

You see, I passed this car today on the highway.


Semper Fi bumper sticker on St. Francis' car

From this we learn a few things:

The modern St. Francis of Assisi drives a red Impala

The modern St. Francis of Assisi was a marine. Twice.

I take great pictures while I drive

I love irony, so I loved this car. St. Francis’ motto was Pax et Bonum, Latin for “peace and goodness be with you.” He often closely identified with St. Francis Prayer which includes these lines:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Semper Fidelis, on the other hand, is Latin for “always faithful,” and became the Marine Corps motto in 1883. The Marines are closely identified with the Marine Hymn which includes¬†these lines:

Our flag’s unfurled to every breeze

From dawn to setting sun;

We have fought in every clime and place

Where we could take a gun.

Tough guys. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of the Marines. I’m a big fan of Catholics. I’m a big fan of Catholic Marines. But I wonder what St. Francis would think of a license plate with his name next to the symbol of a military branch? Maybe this little red car is a symbol of the tension in our fallen world between the desire for peace and unity and the need for conflict to overcome malevolent evil.

Or maybe a priest bought a car off an old Marine. Or maybe, the closing lines of the Marine Hymn are really true:

If the Army and the Navy

Ever look on Heaven’s scenes,

They will find the streets are guarded

By United States Marines.

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