This week we celebrate Saint Francis of Assisi (1181-1226). Francis was but a humble servant of God, trying to listen to what God asked of him and spreading the gospel of Christ in a loving and humble way. St Francis was the founder of a number of Franciscan Orders which later became the orders of Monks and Nuns we have today. Below are some thoughts attributed to Francis of Assisi.
Francis was on a military mission in Puglia, Italy, when it is said he heard the voice of God telling him to return to Assisi and restore the church. Francis misinterpreted this to mean the physical buildings which were in disrepair. Later, through more prayer and prompting by the Holy Spirit, Christ revealed to Francis that he wanted him to restore the Church within, not without.
At another time, Francis had a vision of a little black hen, whose feathers and feet were those of a dove. She had so many chicks that she couldn’t gather them all under her wings, and they ran all around her beyond her reach. Francis interpreted this to mean, the he himself, was like that hen, for he was short in stature and dark of colouring and he had so many followers, that he was unable to care for them. Francis believed that the Lord had given him too many children to be able to care for himself, therefore he said, he was to surrender them to the Mother Church who would protect them in the form of monastic orders, which is just what he did.”
Francis named his religious order the Friars Minor (Little Brothers) to express his desire that the brothers would always remain humble and never seek positions above others. He encountered many difficulties along the way as he tried to remain faithful to the inspiration that God had given him. Once St. Francis had a vivid dream in which Jesus appeared to him and said, “Poor little man, why are you so sad? Is not your order, my order? Is it not I who am its chief shepherd? Cease to be afflicted then, and take care rather of your own salvation.” The dream was a great consolation to Francis. Francis also believed that possessions were unnecessary, that possessions in turn would need weapons to defend them and that they would eventually become an obstacle to one’s search for the divine. Francis believed this and lived his belief.
Francis is also the patron saint of animals and is celebrated most often with liturgy and service to the animals who share our lives. He is considered the one who had and has, a direct connection through the created order, to the divine. We honour St Francis each year on October 4 or thereabouts, with a service of blessing for our own pets and animals who share our lives.
Have a great couple of weeks
Shalom (God’s deep abiding, indwelling love be with you)
Donna (Vicar of Wynnum)