Jacomo was a successful lawyer of noble birth who, after the sudden death of his wife, was so moved by her example of faith, that he gave all his possessions away to the poor and became a Secular Franciscan. Because he dressed in rags and performed religious poems and songs, he was mocked as a fool and called “Jacapone,” or “crazy Jim.” He adhered to the strictest interpretation of Franciscan poverty, spoke out against corruption in religious leaders, and got mixed up in a church political dispute between two Franciscan camps and two popes. This dispute resulted in Jacapone’s temporary excommunication. His holiness sang through both times of joy and times of suffering.
O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:
Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.
— from the hymn Stabat Mater, attributed to Jacapone da Todi
Questions for Reflection:
- Have you ever been mocked because of your faith?
- Do you know anyone who you might call a “fool for Christ?”
- Are there elements of our faith that might cause Christians to be seen as crazy today?