Does St. Francis rock, or what?
The Saint of Ecology, He was the first saint to perceive that creatures communicate not only with their own kind, but also that there is communication between species. It sounds so simple: there must be a subtle bond between everything, right? We're all creatures of God/the universe/Mother Earth/whatever/etc., and so we're all connected.
"Francis was in awe of the swallow, the cricket and the wolf. 'Where the modern cynic sees something 'buglike’ in everything that exists,' observed the German writer-philosopher Max Scheler, 'St. Francis saw even in a bug the sacredness of life.'Just as importantly, St. Francis recognized this synchronicity throughout all of ecology. Water and the moon are sisters, fire and the sun are brothers. The flower, the tree, the grass, the worm, the bird, the star, all are brothers and sisters, and all must be considered and respected. This philosophy is echoed throughout religions all across the globe, most strikingly for me in a beautiful letter from Chief Seattle: "All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it." St. Francis so believed in this web, that he even appealed to Brother Fire to be good to him when, in the last years of his life, the surgeon opened the veins between his ears and his eyebrows with a red-hot iron in an attempt to cure him of his eye ailment.
"St. Francis of Assisi addressed creatures as 'sisters' and 'brothers,' that is, as equals, not as subjects to be dominated. " --via american catholic
St. Francis was able to communicate this connection and peace because he lived a very simple life. Growing up, though he always had a sense of his discontent regarding his environment, St. Francis enjoyed the easy life that came along with being born into a well-to-do family. In young adulthood, after a stint in the army and an illness, he had several visions that prompted him to "give it all up,"and dedicate his life to God. He turned his back on his inherited wealth, and so his father, and renounced all property. (Similar to young Siddhartha's journey, yes?) This life dedicated to poverty however, was not about suffering or going without. It was about removing earthly bonds, cutting them off so that they didn't hold him back from his mission to spread the word of peace. It was by living this simple life that St. Francis could demonstrate the connectedness between human, creature and earth.
What a guy!
In his honor, I'm planning to reconnect with the simple things in my life and rededicate myself to the messages of love and peace. For me, the first step in that is securely connecting my mind, body and soul - a little detox, if you will - so that I can completely affix myself to my environment. This is a bit more personal that I usually get in this blog, but I'm putting it here in writing, so that it will be.
Happy Feast Day, St. Francis!
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;
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.
A big *MUAH to Stefanie Francis, who made St. Francis "our saint" :)