Today is the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.
There is a tendency today of reinterpreting the words of the Gospel
into more acceptable and palatable manner,
thereby diluting and even ‘sanitizing’ the original Gospel message.
Here is one person who took the words of the Lord literally.
To his would-be followers and disciples, Christ said:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves
and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21
And Saint Francis did just that – he sold all his possessions,
lived on begging and gathered together men and women
who would dedicated their own lives serving all of God’s creation
– and not just the poor but also animals and every living thing.
He saw God’s presence in everyone and everywhere,
joining Brother Sun and Sister Moon in singing God’s praise.
We do not own the earth.
We are but stewards taking care of it for the next generations.
There is a legend about Saint Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio. The town was being terrorized by a wild wolf and they felt helpless in getting rid of the beast that was killing their livestock and even some townspeople. The town asked for help from Saint Francis, who was already known for his care and friendship of animals and nature in general. And true enough, Saint Francis was able to tame the wild wolf who even became the town’s pet.
There is also a Cherokee legend about the two wolves within us.
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Saint Francis also left us the beautiful prayer, “Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace.”
Peace is one thing the world is hungering for these days.