Sunday, February 8, 2009


Image found here. 

For me, Sunday is my day of reflection. It's a day to think about the week that has finished and to look to the week ahead. Some days, my thoughts are focused on the football game on television, which isn't particularly restful or therapeutic; but others, like today, are quiet and tranquil. On days like today, I take time to read books that inspire me to look more deeply into the world around me, and in doing so, learn a little more about myself and how I relate to that world. 

Today I am reading about St. Francis of Assisi, who lived from 1182 - 1226. My interest in St. Francis was piqued yesterday, as I put out our little statue of St. Francis in our garden. He holds a bowl, which is supposed to be a birdbath, but actually Sammy thinks it's his water dish. Given that St. Francis is the patron saint of animals, I would think he would approve of Sammy's slobbering. 

Some of my favorite writings from St. Francis include this quote:
"We have no right to glory in ourselves because of any extraordinary gifts, since these do not belong to us but to God. But we may glory in crosses, afflictions and tribulations, because these are our own."
At first reading, I was puzzled by this. How can I glory in an affliction or tribulation such as chronic illness? Yes, I agree that any gifts or talents that I possess were given to me. But to glory in difficulties given to me as well? 

On further thought and reading, it seems that St. Francis is telling me that in being given some difficulties in life, I am also being given an opportunity to learn not only about my frailties and weaknesses, but also to appreciate that everyone has a need of sorts. That I am not alone in my difficulties, and that those things that I seek in my distress - understanding, love, support and acceptance, are things that everyone needs. 

St. Francis had  deep connection to the sacredness of our world - be it people, animals, plants or inanimate things. This is reflected in his beautiful Canticle of Creation:
Most high, all powerful, good Lord, to You be praise, glory and honor and all blessing.

To You alone, Most High, do they belong, and there is no man worthy to name You.
Praise be to You, my Lord, with all Your creatures.
Chief of all is Sir Brother Sun, who is our day; through whom You give light. Beautiful is he, radiant, with great splendor. He is a true revealer of You, Most High.
Praise be to You, my Lord, for Sister Moon and for the stars. In heaven You have formed them, bright, precious and fair.
Praise be to You, my Lord, for Brother Wind, and for the air, and for the cloud, for clear sky and for all weathers, by which You give nourishment to all Your creatures.
Praise be to You, my Lord, for Sister Water. She is most useful and humble, precious and pure.
Praise be to You, my Lord, for Brother Fire, by whom You light up the night. Fair is he and merry, mighty and strong.
Praise be to You, my Lord, for our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and keeps us. She brings forth divers fruits, the many-hued flowers and grass.
You, my Lord, for those who grant pardon for love of You, and bear weakness and buffetings. Blessed are they who live in peace, for by You, Most High, shall they be crowned.
Praise be to You, my Lord, for our Sister, Bodily Death, From whom no living man can flee. Woe to them who die in mortal sin! But blessed they who shall find themselves in Your most holy will; to them the second death shall do no ill.

I love the imagery his titles Brother Sun, Mother Earth, and Sister Moon create. I love the reminder he gives me that I belong in this world. And so does everyone and everything else. 

No comments: