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.
In these days that seemed to be filled with one tragedy after another, whether natural or human-made, may we find solace and new purpose in seeking the higher good and working diligently for justice and peace through humble service.
Even as we pray for the people whose lives have been changed forever by the shootings in Las Vegas and by the hurricanes in Puerto Rico and so many other places in and near the United States, we also know that it takes more than prayer to repair such damage and devastation. It takes action on many levels, personal and national. May we continue our prayers, asking God for guidance in the appropriate direction for our action, and the courage to act.
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
A special Thank You to Larry Mikuta for tolling the bell at St Thomas earlier this week in memory and honor of those who lost their lives in Las Vegas on Sunday night.
Peace and blessing,