Feast Day St Francis of Assisi 2012

Several of my previous posts on St Francis have links to them below...
  •  Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi 2011 from here
  • Sacred Space and Franciscan Grace from here
  • In Praise of Sister Moon and Reflections on The Canticle of The Sun from here 
  • Embracing the Leper from here  and Clothed Splendour here
  • Thoughts on the Assisi Prayer Gathering 2011 from here
                                                                           Image source

In this article from American Catholic, author Diane Houdek writes

"People responded to Francis in ways that nothing he said or did can adequately explain. Even one of his closest followers, Brother Masseo, asked him once, “Why after you? Why does everyone follow after you?” He had a certain charisma, but he didn’t like being a leader and wasn’t looking for followers, just companions. 

The simplicity of his lifestyle may have been attractive to some, but in his day as in ours a lavish lifestyle was always more desirable than the subsistence living of the “little poor man.” Read the rest of the article here

There is a further archive of splendid postings all related to St. Francis from here.

 It is easy to be beguiled by an oversentimentalised nostalgia about St Francis which can paralyse us and prevent us from seeing how God and the Holy Spirit is working just as definitely in our own time.

This wonderful post from Richard Beck is worth reading for how we can still live out the message of Francis in an article entitled "Accompaniment and the Sacrament of Mere Presence."

"We are told that St. Francis used to spend whole nights praying the same prayer: “Who are you, God? And who am I?” Evelyn Underhill claims it’s almost the perfect prayer. 
The abyss of your own soul and the abyss of the nature of God have opened up, and you are falling into both of them simultaneously. 
Now you are in a new realm of Mystery and grace, where everything good happens!
Notice how the prayer of Francis is not stating anything but just asking open-ended questions. It is the humble, seeking, endless horizon prayer of the mystic that is offered out of complete trust. 
You know that such a prayer will be answered, because there has already been a previous answering, a previous epiphany, a previous moment where the ground opened up and you knew you were in touch with infinite mystery and you knew you were yourself infinite mystery. 
You only ask such grace-filled questions, or any question for that matter, when they have already begun to be answered."
Fr. Richard Rohr O.F.M. Daily Meditations from here
 Click here for a fine article : Franciscans and Muslims: Eight Centuries of Seeking God.
                                   Tunic, found in Assisi, Italy, that St. Francis was wearing at the time of his death.
 "More often than not, the bare earth was the only bed Francis had to lay his tired body on, and his pillow was a stone or a piece of wood. His clothes were simplicity itself - nothing more than a course, rough covering to protect him...
From Saint Francis of Assisi
written by St Bonaventure, Major Life
Chapter III
"Francis was a poet whose whole life was a poem. He was not so much a minstrel merely singing his own songs as a dramatist capable of acting the whole of his own play. The things he said were more imaginative than the things he wrote. The things he did were more imaginative than the things he said. Saint Francis did in a definite sense make the very act of living an art, though it was an unpremeditated art."

G. K. Chesterton.
The Purest Love
Il Poverello

Selections from the first performance of the forty-five minute music drama, Il Poverello, which was performed in St John's Cathedral, Brisbane, October 1st 2010.The programme notes describe the work as: 'A wonderful sound-scape that animates the fascinating character of St Francis. 
Betty Beath and David Cox have explored Francis, the person, and his message of love and peace, his affinity with nature and his devotion to simplicity of life.'

Song, music, and poetry were so deeply a part of the nature of Saint Francis that in times of sorrow and sickness as well as of joy and good health he spontaneously gave voice in song to his feelings, his inspirations, and his prayers. The clearest expression of this aspect of the personality of the Poverello is the Canticle of Brother Sun.The beautiful photos in the video are from an exhibition of paintings at San Damiano near Assisi.

Click here for some more prayers attributed to St Francis of Assisi

God Would Kneel Down
St. Francis of Assisi
I think God might be a little prejudiced. 

For once He asked me to join Him on a walk
through this world,
and we gazed into every heart on this earth,

and I noticed He lingered a bit longer
before any face that was
and before any eyes that were
And sometimes when we passed
a soul in worship
God too would kneel down.
I have come to learn: 
God adores His creation.

Source: Love Poems From God, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

 Catholic Ecology has a fine post here on Francis

 The Blessing of The Animals is a tradition
that many churches throughout the world participate and celebrate 
 to honour of the Feast Day St Francis

Click here for one theory as to why God Created Dogs and Cats.

Prayer of Saint Francis for Animals

God Our Heavenly Father,
You created the world
to serve humanity's needs
and to lead them to You.

By our own fault
we have lost the beautiful relationship
which we once had with all your creation.

Image source

Help us to see
that by restoring our relationship with You
we will also restore it
with all Your creation.

Give us the grace
to see all animals as gifts from You
and to treat them with respect
for they are Your creation.

We pray for all animals
who are suffering as a result of our neglect.

May the order You originally established
be once again restored to the whole world
through the intercession of the Glorious Virgin Mary,
the prayers of Saint Francis
and the merits of Your Son,
Our Lord Jesus Christ
Who lives and reigns with You
now and forever. Amen.

St. Francis of Assisi, additions added later

 Image source

Legend has it that St. Francis on his deathbed thanked his donkey for carrying and helping him throughout his life, and his donkey wept.
Image from Monos : Monastic Centre for Culture and Spirituality

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