|St. Francis preaching to the birds|
In the Roman Catholic Church, each saint has a day assigned to honor them. Today is St. Francis of Assisi Day. I thought of him this morning as I fed my cats, as we drove to work and saw three deer feeding beside the road, watched a herd of cattle and then of llamas in the fields along the highway, passed a murder of crows dropping walnuts to the road to break them open, saw a pair of mockingbirds trying to run another crow off that had gotten too close to their nest, listen to the insects and birds sing outside my open office door, listened to the squeals and laughter as children arrived for nursery school... Francis saw the presence of God in the faces of all of his little brothers and sisters, heard the voice of God in their songs, and preached back to them the good news of God's love. He calls us to find the very presence of God in the wonders of creation surrounding us.
In yesterday's daily e-mail meditation, Richard Rohr had this to say about Francis
In most paintings of people waiting for the Holy Spirit they are looking upward, with their hands outstretched or raised up, the assumption being that the Holy Spirit will descend from “up” above. In the Great Basilica in Assisi where St. Francis is buried, there’s a bronze statue of him honoring the Holy Spirit. His posture and perspective are completely different from what we have come to expect. He’s looking down into the earth with expectation and desire! This is the change of perspective that became our alternative orthodoxy—although it should have been mainline orthodoxy! He was merely following the movement of the Incarnation, since Christians believe that the Eternal Word became “flesh” (John 1:14), and it is in the material world that God and the holy are to be found.Today, I will honor Francis by looking down to find the presence of God.