Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary, use words

So goes the statement very commonly attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. Now, did he actually say:
Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary, use words?
Well, probably not those exact words, but he DID say these, very similar, words:
Nevertheless, let all the brothers preach by their works. And let no minister or preacher appropriate to himself the ministry of brothers or the office of preaching, but let him give up his office without any contradiction at whatever hour it may be enjoined him. (St. Francis, 2019).

So, one can see that the "rule" was the brothers (friars) were to "preach by their works." That does pretty much say what is commonly attributed to him!
These words are rooted in Scripture too. John 13:35-
By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another. (DRB, 1899).
In other words, Jesus was not saying that they will know the Apostles are His Disciples by what they preach, but by them showing the love they have for one another.
One of my instructors relates his experiences and meditations as he walks from Tui to Santiago de Compostela along the Camino Portugues, which is the way of St. James, the Apostle through Spain. He relates how much you can see how the people who live along the Camino Portugues live their faith, day in and day out. You can also see how other pilgrims on the trail have left their own marks of meditation and adoration. The point is, we should all live our faith - all the time - so that those who observe us, like our co-workers, family, and other associates, can see that our faith is not just a Sunday-only thing, but is part of our lives.
One of my purposes for writing this blog entry is related to a request from my instructor, "Pilgrim Paul," (Pilgrim, 2014), but the other reason I have for this is to counter several other writers out there who downplay the St. Francis paraphrase - 1) because he didn't use those words and 2) the Gospel MUST be preached, WITH words.
To the latter point, St. Francis clearly did not say "do not use words," for he himself used MANY words - including the First Rule of the Friars Minor, (Francis, 1209) which I quoted from earlier. The point is - live the Gospel, for that too is preaching - and when necessary, use words. Often we find that using words does not lead to conversion, but leaves one with an emotional response, either entrenched in their position or you are preaching to the choir (those who are already convinced) (Adler, Iacobelli, & Gutstien, 2016).

Adler, R. F., Iacobelli, F., & Gutstein, Y. (2016). Are you convinced? A Wizard of Oz study to test emotional vs. rational persuasion strategies in dialogues. Computers in Human Behavior, 75.

DRB (1899). John 13:35. Douay Rheims Bible, American Edition.

Pilgrim, P. (2014). Following in the footsteps on the Camino [blog post]. Following in the Footsteps

St. Francis of Assisi (2019). 17: Of preachers. First Rule of the Friars Minor.

Those Nefarious Catholics and the Letter J

One of my sons asked me to look into this alleged controversy. I say "alleged" because the controversy itself is an invention of those who do not understand linguistics and how the letter "J" came into the English alphabet.

The claim is that the letter "J" is only 400-500 years old and that the Catholic Church invented the letter to get the world to worship their false god "Jesus" as opposed to the real God, Yeshua. The fact is there is some truth to the inclusion of "J" into the English alphabet! What is false is that the Catholic Church somehow used this to undermine "true" Christianity. The reality is that the origin is in the letter "I". Therefore the name Jesus would have originally been written "Iesus." If we want to get picky, it would actually have been written: "IESVS" as there was no "U" prior to the 14th century either! One of the most famous Roman Ceasars is Julius Ceasar, which was written IVLIVS CÆSAR (originally there were no lowercase letters either!).

Source: Cody, (n.d.)
Hebrew: שׁוּעַ  or YeshuaGreek: IésousLatin: IESVSModern English: Jesus
You can see the evolution of the name Jesus from the Hebrew, where a "Y" or "yod" becomes an "I" in Greek and Latin, and later to the "J" in modern English. (Reminder, when you read in Hebrew it is right to left).

The fact is the ancient letter "I" has long had the pronunciation of the modern letter "J." Have you ever noticed that "J" can also sound like a consonant "Y" as well as to a vowel "Y"?  For example, the Roman word IVVNIS, the Latin word for "young." The first "I" makes the Y/J sound, like we use in the English word "young," while the second "I" has the sound of the vowel "E"!  To help make the distinction between the two sounds of "I," in the Middle Ages writers started adding a little "tail" below the line to the letter "I" - that below-the-line tail is still seen in the lowercase "j" and moves above the line for the uppercase "J." Thus the letter "J" is born! (NativLang, 2016).

So, when did "J" get officially recognized? In 1524, an Italian man named Gian Giorgio Trissino made the distinction between the soft "J" like in "jam" and the "I" sound - and he did this to clarify the phoneme for Jesus - so yes, it does come down to that name! 

U and J are not alone! G, W, and Y are also on the list of the English alphabet of letters which were not there in the original Latin alphabet! This brings us back to the earlier statement of the ignorance of modern antagonists who are unaware of how alphabets evolve linguistically - and not for some nefarious motives of the Catholic Church.

Speaking of nefarious - even the Nazis got into the act! First, in German, the name "Jesus" is "Jesus!" There is no transliteration! That said, the Nazis felt they had to remove all Jewishness from Jesus - and for some, the claim was (is?) that Jesus Himself was German (or Aryan) and was persecuted and crucified by the Jews, and therefore was not one of them (Heschel, 2008).

The sign the Romans posted on Jesus' Cross, often artistically rendered by the initials in Latin, was IESVS NAZARENVS REX IVDÆORVM, Jesus (of) Nazareth, King (of the) Jews - or INRI. It is also recorded in John 19:19-20 that the sign was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.


Cody, D.J. (n.d.). Yeshua -vs- Jesus; The controversy; The debate; The answer. Encouraging Love Ministries (n.d.). Meet the man responsible for the letter "J".'t%20until%201524,distinction%20between%20the%20two%20sounds.

Heschel, S. (2008). The Aryan Jesus; Christian theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany. Princeton University Press

NativLang, (2016). Modding the Latin alphabet: the odd history of G, J, U, W, Y [video]. NativLang.

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