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Rector's Reflection for October 4, 2013

posted Oct 5, 2013, 11:13 AM by Terry Brady

Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, to thee be ceaseless praise outpoured, and blessing without measure. Let creatures all give thanks to thee, and serve in great humility.           -- Francis of Assisi  

This Sunday we celebrate the feast day of the13th century friar and preacher St. Francis, as we honor him with our traditional Blessing of the Animals. Francis is the patron saint of "all creatures great and small" and the environment we share with them, which  makes him very popular. He is known for founding the Order of Friars and the Order of Clare, for creating the Christmas crèche (Nativity scene), and for his prayer (Lord, make me and instrument of your peace). Our gardens and courtyards are adorned with statues of Francis, with birds on his shoulders, looking serene and well groomed.


What those statues don't reveal is Francis' utter devotion in serving the poor. What our celebrations seldom address is Francis' disillusionment with the values of the world and how he sneaked  around offering food to beggars and comfort to lepers. We seldom hear how he ended up renouncing his inheritance and all material values, opting to live as a beggar among the most despised members of the community. What we hear little about is how Francis' greatest joy was to be numbered among "the least of these." 

We celebrate Francis by reminding ourselves that all of God's creatures are precious and by reminding one another what a gift all of God's creation is to us. But perhaps we honor him most when we reach out to someone who is suffering, looking past the visible signs of poverty and seeing a human being of great value to God.


I suspect that his spirit was also among us last Sunday during our Charlie's Place breakfast.  I know that the spirit of St. Francis will be with us on this Sunday as we honor him and those he loved.