The Footsteps of St. Francis

I recently returned from visiting my daughter, Sheila, and grandchildren in Umbria, Italy. We roamed around small towns and beautiful green hillsides and visited Assisi. I couldn’t stop thinking about St. Francis of Assisi: “Had he stepped where I am stepping?”; or, as I watched the magpies and small birds darting around, I could almost see those same birds landing on his open hand; or, when I saw the famous statue of the wolf and Francis together, I marveled how the power of God’s peace within Francis tamed the wolf. 

As a reminder, Francis lived from 1182 to 1226 in Assisi, located in Umbria, Italy, around 80 miles north of Rome. He demonstrated a radical faith marked by a courageous surrender to God’s will and a holy simplicity. He founded the Franciscan order, starting out with only three other monks and later joined by St. Clare, who with her followers became the Poor Clares. Francis is well known for recognizing the sacred in nature and all of God’s creatures—and treating all with consummate respect and love. In fact, Pope St. John Paul II in 1979 declared Francis as the patron saint of “those who promote ecology.”

Learn more about St. Francis of Assisi in this short video (Source: Catholic Online)

Let us embrace the peace, beauty, and silence of the natural  world with the same simplicity, respect, and love that Francis demonstrated. Our world would be so much the better for it.

The Prayer of St. Francis challenges us to be instruments for peace in our world.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • Say the Prayer of St. Francis
    Commit the prayer of St. Francis to memory and say it each morning. If you are interested, you can read my own expanded version of this beautiful prayer, included under resources on serenityandhealth.com.

  • Go outside.
    If you haven’t spent quiet time in nature in too long, now is the time. Make it happen. Soak in the peace and feel the healing. As a simple first step, you can try praying early morning in concert with the birds. This time of year I am deeply touched by the singing birds I hear through my open window as I say my morning prayers.

  • Watch Brother Sun, Sister Moon
    World Environment Day comes on June 5. In preparation for this day, learn more about St. Francis by watching the classic movie Brother Sun, Sister Moon or reading about him. If we all followed his example just a little, we could change the world.

I hope you all have a peaceful day. Be sure to subscribe to my blog newsletter if you haven’t yet done so. Also, follow me on Facebook or Twitter. I post sparingly and carefully, valuing your time as much as I value my own!