Our Lady's Little Scribe seeks to use the internet for sharing the Catholic faith and Franciscan spirituality, going from Gospel to life and life to the Gospel.

The silk painting, shown above, is by Ty Mam Duw, Poor Clare Colettines, Hawarden, WALES GB. Their website is here. Ty Mam Duw is Welsh and means The House of the Mother of God. Our Lady of the Pearl cherishes their friendship and is grateful for their many kindnesses and prayers. The image is used with permission.

Entertaining Angels

Entertaining Angels
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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Saint Francis, Lover of All Creation

"When he considered the primordial sources of all things, he was filled with even more abundant piety, calling creatures, no matter how small, by the name of brother or sister, because he knew they had the same source as himself." (S. Bonaventure, The Life of Saint Francis.)

There are many stories about St. Francis and his encounters with animals, bird, fish and even insects. He rejoiced in the sounds of running water or blowing wind and walked reverently on stones. Nature became holy for him. He called all creatures and elements of creation, brother and sister. St. Francis saw everything created by God the Father and touched by the presence of the Word made flesh. He saw all creation as part of a divine family, deserving of our brotherly and sisterly love and respect. He saw great beauty in all that was around him and was enthralled by God’s presence in the created order.

"From all this, one can gather that
from the creation of the world
the invisible attributes of God are clearly seen,
being understood,
through the things that are made.
And so those who do not wish to heed these things,
and to know, bless and love God in all of them
are without excuse;
for they are unwilling to be transported
out of darkness
into the marvelous light of God."
(S. Bonaventure, The Soul’s Journey Into God)

I am a Secular Franciscan, and mom to my little family of Maltese dogs. I have a very deep affection for them and those I foster. Dogs have a spirit which allows them to form relationships, to bond with us, to love, to be grateful, to trust, to want to be with us, and other wonderful attributes which make them worthy of our greatest devotion and care. They have the imprint of God upon them which is what St. Francis realized about all creation. They are for us the source of some of our greatest joys and sorrows – sorrow when they are sick or in pain or leave us to breathe their breath back to God.

All my dogs have been a ladder for me to God. They have taught me much about God and myself in relation to him. As a Christian and a Franciscan, I cannot be indifferent to God's creatures. Any Franciscan who is indifferent has missed understanding an important part of St. Francis' spirituality. His love of all created things was an extension of his deep love of the Creator. Thomas of Celano, biographer of St. Francis for his canonization, says:

"In every work of the artist he praised the Artist; whatever he found in the things made he referred to the Maker. He rejoiced in all the works of the hands of the Lord and saw behind things pleasant to behold their life-giving reason and cause. In beautiful things he saw Beauty itself; all things were to him good. 'He who made us is the best,' they cried out to him. Through his footprints impressed upon things he followed the Beloved everywhere; he made for himself from all things a ladder by which to come even to his [God’s] throne."

He embraced all things with a rapture of unheard of devotion, speaking to them of the Lord and admonishing them to praise him. He spared lights, lamps and candles, not wishing to extinguish their brightness with his hand, for he regarded them as a symbol of Eternal Light. He walked reverently upon stones, because of him who was called the Rock…

He forbade the brothers to cut down the whole tree when they cut wood, so that it might have hope of sprouting again. He commanded the gardener to leave the border around the garden undug, so that in proper times the greenness of the grass and the beauty of flowers might announce the Father of all things … he ordered that honey and the best wines be set out for the bees, lest they perish from want in the cold of winter." (Thomas of Celano, Second Life, cxxiv, 165\\)

In this time of Advent, let us remember that all of creation has the imprint of the Creator. In this time of Advent, let us remember how St. Francis prepared the Christmas crèche at Greccio and honored the animals by including them. Let us prepare our hearts for the coming of the Child of Bethlehem, making of it his crib. Let us honor God’s presence in all creatures and in all creation.

"Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory and the honor and all blessing,
To you alone, Most High, do they belong, and no human is worthy to mention Your name.
Praised be You, my Lord, with all your creatures . . . ."
(The Canticle of the Creatures by St. Francis)


Tausign said...

You really know that this has become part of who we are when you capture flies and spiders and release them outdoors. Even every fall the cold weather drives one obligatory mouse into the house and I and my cat work together to corner, capture and expel the trespasser. Alas, sometimes the cat beats me and takes matter into her own hands, gulp!

Little Scribe said...

Except for the mouse bit, you sound like St. Francis. Visit my blog again - you will hear Christmas music. The selections are near bottom of page. Merry Chritmas.

Steve said...

I'll capture spiders, crickets etc and let them outside, but I really have a great loathing of cockroaches, and for some reason I dont give them a 2nd shot....I cant help it, they repulse me.