“Good morning, good people!” It was with this phrase that Francis of Assisi frequently began his spontaneous preaching in the streets and fields of Assisi, in Rome and in most places where he journeyed. On next Sunday, October 4th, we will be celebrating the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology, the saint who showed us by his life, what it means to love God and all peoples and creatures. When Francis said “good” he truly meant that because he knew that intrinsically all things were good because God created them. However he even meant it when referring to people, because although sinful acts were done and poor choices were determined by people, they, too, were good as God’s daughters and sons.
There is so much that could be written about Francis and his philosophy of life which goes beyond a decoration on a birdbath! His Canticle of the Creatures, from which Pope Francis chose his beginning phrase: “Laudato Si” (Praise be you!) was written when Francis was on his deathbed, suffering from tremendous pain. And yet Francis, being in that state of mind, praises God for all his creatures and calls them his sisters and brothers. The sun, the moon, water and fire, all living things show us who God is and why we should love God. At he end of the canticle he praises God for all those who give pardon, who forgive because true love expresses itself at these difficult moments. Finally he gives praise for Sister Death, because it is only through death that we can be joined to God for all eternity.
In these times of dealing with the COVID 19 and its consequences, of social unrest and so much violence, of blatant acts of racism and hate, of division and attitudes of supremacy, of neglect of the marginalized, refugees and immigrants, we need the example of the poor man of Assisi to help us learn what it means to love God through our neighbors. Like Francis we need to chose to see all persons and peoples as neighbors and not enemies. When Francis went on mission to meet the Sultan, the Muslim leader of the Moors, it was not to convert him to Christianity; it was not to shout at him or condemn his way of thinking; it was not to prove that he was greater than the Sultan; it was but to reach out to him as brother and bring him peace. “Peace and all Good”.
Please watch this short video reflection offered by the Catholic Health Association. May God give you peace and may you act always with peace in your heart.
Now we invite your thoughts. Please share in the comments section below. And while you’re here, continue on a virtual mission by reading more of our stories and reflections as we discover together how “We are Mission”.