Blessed feast of St Francis of Assisi. As I write there are several varieties of birds in and around the garden at St Thomas. Some are year round regulars, others are returning here for the winter, and others are just passing through, heading to the places where they will winter over. There are also several places where leaves are starting to show fall color, and some leaves already on the ground. The tent from the backyard has been taken down and stored for winter, and the picnic tables are close in to the side of the building.
One of the highlights of early October for me is the feast of St Francis of Assisi on October 4. Born into wealth, as a young man he gave up everything he had and became a servant of the poor. The monastic order we know today as the Franciscans grew out of his gathering of followers. We often think of Francis as a friend to animals, and bless our pets in his honor. But his message was much broader than pets – his dedication and service was to all of creation.
One of his few remaining writings – a Canticle to the Sun is included in our hymnal and is used each year on the Sunday closest to October 4. This is the first verse:
Most High, omnipotent, good Lord, To thee be ceaseless praise outpoured, And blessing without measure.
Let creatures all give thanks to thee And serve in great humility
You can find the entire hymn at # 406 and 407 in the Hymnal 1982.
Change. We are in the midst of it; we are part of it. Francis knew this. The things that remain the same are the love and care we have for one another, and that God has for each of us, from the greatest to the smallest. We are blessed in so many ways.
Let us pray:
Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, grant your people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of this world; that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in your whole creation with perfectness of joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
A Prayer attributed to St. Francis:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we 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. Amen.
BCP page 833
Peace and blessing,