Tuesday, October 4, 2011

St. Francis of Assisi: He's Not Just for Birdbaths

“Two great revolutions changed the history of Mankind: the Christian Revolution and the Franciscan Revolution"
                                                                                     ~ Ernst Renan

October 4 is his feast day. Sometimes known as “the Protestant Saint,” St. Francis of Assisi is known and loved outside the Catholic Church more than any other saint. He revolutionized the faith and brought an authenticity of practice during his own day. In Italy, so many people wanted to join his order that he created the Third Order for lay people so that they could be involved and still maintain their role in society. He knew it just would not work if everyone left the world for the monastery.

St. Francis was among the first to write in the vernacular rather than in Latin. He saw humankind  as a part of creation rather than separate from it. He is famous for his references such as brother wolf, sister wind, Brother sun, sister moon, etc. His song, “Canticle to the Sun” remains a popular hymn across the spectrum of Christian denominations.  Francis was also the first to make use of nativity scenes at Christmas, a custom now indispensable in many homes and churches during the Christmas season. 

Mahatma Bernadone*
by Charles Kinnaird

From the day he first caught a glimpse
Of the Fair Lady of Heaven,
He honored her light
And shed that light abroad.
Bowing to the divine in every being
And dancing in the light of creation
His song brought life to all who would hear.

The brilliant avatar of the West,
Through buds of Umbrian light,
Ignited his people
And became a spark of hope
For all the world.

*For John “Francis” Bernadone, aka St. Francis Of Assisi


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