Monday, October 4, 2010

St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis is a saint beloved by many.

Many of the stories that surround the life of St Francis deal with his love for animals. Perhaps the most memorable are a collection of legends and folk-lore that sprang up after his death.

Here is one worthy of repeating, once while Francis was traveling with some companions they happened upon a place in the road where birds filled the trees on either side. Francis said to “wait for me while I go to preach to my sisters the birds.” The birds surrounded him, drawn by the power of his voice, and not one of them flew away. Francis spoke to them: "My sister birds, you owe much to God, and you must always and in everyplace give praise to Him; for He has given you freedom to wing through the sky and He has clothed you… for the Creator loves you greatly and He blesses you abundantly. Therefore… always seek to praise God."

Another legend tells us that in the city of Gubbio, where Saint Francis lived for some time, there was a wolf “terrifying and ferocious, who devoured men as well as animals.” Francis had compassion upon the townsfolk, and went up into the hills to find the wolf. Soon fear of the animal had caused all his companions to flee, but the saint pressed on and when he found the wolf he made the sign of the cross and commanded the wolf to come to him and hurt no one...Then St. Francis led the wolf into the town, and surrounded by startled citizens he made a pact between them and the wolf... In this manner Gubbio was freed from the menace of the predator...

These legends exemplify the saint's love of the natural world. In honor of St. Francis we usually have the Blessing of Animals. However, do to inclement weather the blessing of animals was only held at St. Martinb DePorres marianist School in the morning.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.