Consciousness knows all.
Sacred life appears.
All birds simply know—
No conscious thought here.
Eye-to-eye with birds.
United we live.
Remembering Saint Francis
In the fleeting but sacred moments I enjoy with the many birds that visit our garden sanctuary, my thoughts sometimes drift fondly to St. Francis of Assisi, well known as the beloved patron saint of animals, birds, and the environment. Pope Innocent III told Francis that God had given him the greatest gift of all—the grace to approach Him through His beloved creatures. In “The Canticle of Brother Sun,” written shortly before Francis passed on, one of his famous stanzas goes like this: “Praised be You my Lord through our Sister, Mother Earth who sustains and governs us, producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.” His boundless love of life was inclusive when he prayed, “My God and my all.” For him, every particle of the natural world was holy in its multiplicity of manifestations—in the reassuring ways Life reveals God’s Love.
Perhaps the most famous incident that illustrates Francis’ enduring voice for nature and his great love for animals is recounted in the “Fioretti” (“The Little Flowers of Saint Francis”), a collection of legends and folklore that sprang up after the Saint’s death.1 In one of these stories, it is told that while he was traveling with some companions one day, they reached a place in the road where birds filled the trees on both sides. Francis told his companions to “wait for me while I go to preach to my sisters the birds.” The birds surrounded him, intrigued by the power of his voice. Not a single bird flew away from his humble, radiating presence. Thus, the famous “Sermon to the Birds” became an enduring legend.
Naturalist John Muir put it perfectly when he wrote, “any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.” My life is daily enlarged and made better by every feathered and furred encounter of grace and blessing. Thank you, sisters and brothers of the animal realm. Thank you, Saint Francis, for your unforgettable, spiritual legacy of love, joy, and humble presence. In today’s rapidly changing world, you help us to remember who we really are—divine beings surrounded by divine beings.
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
We would give you a vision of an infinite power working in
Other Animal and Nature Offerings:
Haiku poem and text © by Zane Maser, 2016. Photos gratefully used from Wikimedia Commons. All 2009-2016 rights of Zane Maser and SunnyCat Astrology reserved worldwide.
My editorial guru and technological wizard is Chris Maser, my stupendous husband.
Posted by: Zane Maser | March 17, 2016