October 4

 Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi

 Reflection

By taking the gospel seriously Francis of Assisi both astounded and inspired people.  He actually tried to live what Jesus preached and to do it with joy and without boundaries. Francis gave up every material thing he had so that he would be totally free.  For a time he was considered to be a religious fanatic, begging from door to door for what he needed, bringing sadness and disgust to his family and former friends and experiencing ridicule from others. Eventually, people saw his genuine holiness and began to follow him. Francis had no intention of founding a religious order, but once it began he protected it and accepted all the legal structures needed to support it. Torn between a life devoted entirely to prayer and a life of actively preaching the gospel, he decided in favor of the latter; but, whenever he could, he always returned to solitude. Francis’ love for creation and his respect for and gentleness with animals have inspired many stories. On his deathbed, he said over and over again the last addition to his Canticle of the Sun “Be praised, O Lord, for our Sister Death.” The Church honors him as the patron saint of animals and ecology.

Prayer

O God, who inspired Francis to leave everything to follow the way of Jesus Christ, grant us the grace of simplicity and sincerity. Help us to love and
respect all Creation. May the patron saint of ecology inspire us to have great respect and care for all God’s creatures.

Action

Francis took the poverty of Christ literally. He also revered and loved all God’s creatures. How do I consider those who are poor? What is my appreciation of creation and all sentient beings? Is there a specific gospel inspired action I can take in any of these areas?

Suggested Reading


Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5
 

If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.
Francis of Assisi

What a man is before God, that he is, and nothing more.
St. Francis of Assisi

Each one should confidently make known his need to the other, so that he might find what he needs and minister to him. And each one should love and care for his brother in all those things in which God will give him grace, as a mother loves and cares for her son.
St. Francis of Assisi 

Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance. Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation. Where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice. Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt.
Francis of Assisi

I made a mistake. Without doubt, an oppressed multitude had to be liberated. But our method only provoked further oppression and atrocious massacres. My living nightmare is to find myself lost in an ocean of red with the blood of innumerable victims. It is too late now to alter the past, but what was needed to save Russia were ten Francis of Assisi’s.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

 

Franciscan Pet Blessing

Blessed are you, Lord God,
maker of all living creatures.
You inspired St. Francis
to call all animals
his brothers and sisters.
We ask you to bless this animal.
By the power of your love,
enable it to live happily and in
peace according to its nature.
Amen.

(Many people bless their pets with this prayer.)

Turn on your speakers and click here for the Canticle of the Creatures.

Canticle of the Creatures

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