This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October 4 -- Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

Yeah, I know that I wrote about Francis last year.  If you want to read about other saints for October 4, here's a link for you.  But the truth is that Francis deserves to be noted every year, and he's so complex that one aspect of him could be noted every October 4 for a decade or more without repeating.

In 1979, Pope John Paul II proclaimed St. Francis the patron of ecology.  To some folks, this will seem like the cult of Gaia or neo-pagan earth worship.  But the US (Catholic) Bishops' statement in 1992, taking a leaf straight from Francis' writings and updating it, noted, "Safeguarding creation requires us to live responsibly in it, rather than managing creation as though we are outside it."  This does not mean that were have to refer to Brother Sun and Sister Moon, Brother Fox and Sister Doe, but rather that we respect creation and live with care and mindfulness.  It is a most difficult balance, and I will not contend that I manage it well.  When his conversion experience had matured, Francis strove for more spiritual perfection than I do, but his model is worth contemplating as I try to find my own balance.

Francis wrote the Canticle of the Sun, also known as the Canticle of the Creatures.  It's literary significance is that it stands among the earliest works in Italian.  It's spiritual significance... well, that is a more individual thing, so I leave that to the reader. It is pasted below. If you are feeling less contemplative and more modern, here's a link to a video biography of Francis performed in Lego. 

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. 
To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name. 

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility.

1 comment:

  1. It's becoming increasingly popular to see church services in a growing number of cities have Blessing for the Animals services around Oct. 4 to honor St. Francis' love for all animals. I found out yesterday that one took place in the afternoon but I hadn't heard of it till the evening - bad timing! I would love to attend a service as apparently many species attend bringing their favorite humans with them :)) It's awesome that finally animals are getting the love and respect they deserve. Sadly this is also around the same time that Thanksgiving happens in Canada and I only wish more people felt that same love and respect for food animals as they do for animals we traditionally view as pets. Being vegan I had to add that. Thanks for this piece on St. Francis.