Today is the Memorial of St Francis of Assisi.
St Francis was born in 1182 to a wealthy family. He spent his early life by drinking and partying, generally having excessive fun. Later, he reportedly received a vision from God that left him with the stigmata – the wounds of Christ during crucifixion. After that, he converted, gave up his luxurious lifestyle and inheritance, offered himself totally to God.
St Francis, Patron Saint of Animals
St Francis is the best known patron saint of animals. One church in our area offers “Blessing of the Pets” this coming Sunday. Growing up, I heard stories about the saint with animals. After all, I went to school with a name, St. Francis. One such story follows: “It was also said that Francis could tame wild animals. One story tells of a vicious wolf in the town of Gubbio that was killing people and sheep. The people of the town were frightened and didn’t know what to do. Francis went to the town to confront the wolf. At first the wolf growled at Francis and prepared to attack him. However, Francis made the sign of the cross and told the wolf not to hurt anyone else. The wolf then became tame and the town was safe.” Read More.
Other than being known for his love of animals, St Francis is also known for his peacemaking. There are stories about his gift of peacemaking, but I like the following explanation of his attitude better, from St Francis Pilgrimage site.
“Francis’s attitude toward peacemaking was not one of diplomacy, statecraft, or realpolitik. For him, peace came simply from a personal and subjective relationship with the incarnate God in the Person of Jesus Christ. Francis believed that peace was not something that could be “made”; rather, it had to be “embodied.” If peace originates in God – and is fully manifested in the Incarnation in Christ – then it has to be personally received before being applied to conflicts. He did not necessarily intend to become a peacemaker, he simply set out to follow Christ. Francis’s attitude towards peace was no different than his attitude toward life: he was a Christian and his response towards life and its complexities was always in Christ. The Lord gave Francis peace which spread to those about him.” Read More.
Pray the Prayer of St Francis here.
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