October 6, 2007

Francis of Assisi?

Francis of Assisi Feast Day was October 4. I thought of his day on the third when I went to a nursery to get some hanging pots. There's always garden statues of Francis with birds. And I am tempted to get one.

Though I think of his story every year on his day, I didn't know what I'd post. I read a novel on him last year that I liked. Therese of Lisieux Day was October 1, and I read her little book. I don't care for her story, she just seems too silly to me, and nothing there for me to hold onto that would help me live better. Many saint stories bug me in their 'literal living'.

I could say that about Francis too, but he does have more depth, and he is the founder (though he wasn't wanting to found anything) of the Franciscan Order of monks. He lived scripture so literally that I get frustrated with him, yet he lived so closely like Jesus, I can't really say anything against him.

I spent some time skimming web sites for a specific story I had read about him and Claire somewhere long ago, but didn't find it, even to page 6 on Google. Claire was of Assisi too and inspired by his change in life to follow Christ, she too followed, and lived out the rest of her life cloistered away. But supposedly the two met for a meal and talked on and on and there was such a glow over the building the townspeople came running, thinking there was a fire. There is a book and movie about them called "Brother Sun, Sister Moon".

If you don't know about Francis of Assisi you should read about him. There's lots of web sites. I found a unique one, http://www.links.net/vita/fwp/stfrank.html, that the guy wrote in a history class using 200 year old books for reference. It really is a good place to read a 'realistic' view, I really like it.

Then too, there's a good site describing a famous painting of Francis and the birds by Giotto. I have this painting. I have an easel that I change the pictures on regularly. I like to become 'friends' with works of art. This site finally explained why so much spiritual art has people with a hand with the last two fingers curled under. Check it out - http://landru.i-link-2.net/shnyves/St._Francis.html.

One piece of his story is his love for all creatures, so he's the patron saint of animals, and ecologists like to claim him. He did preach to the birds the Matthew 6 text about God caring for flowers and birds. So do not be anxious, because God will take care of us to!

In living so closely like Jesus...shouldn't we desire this too? What would it look like in our culture?


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