Sunday, October 9, 2016

Saint Francis of Assisi - Teachings of the Birds

Francis and his companions came upon a field where they were drawn to some beautiful trees filled with birds. Francis lifted up his eyes, surprised with the multitude and with their beautiful variety. “O my beautiful sister birds,” he spoke to the ones on the ground when suddenly all those on the trees also came around him to listen.

Brother Masseo recounted how Francis went among them giving thanks to the Creator, even touched them, and how none of them moved. They did not fly away until he blessed them. The blessing took the form of a sermon.

“My little sisters the birds, you owe much to your Creator who gives you liberty to fly about to all places; and though you neither spin nor sew, he gives you beautifully colored clothing and wings. Though you neither sow nor reap he feeds you, and gives you fountains and rivers to quench your thirst, mountains and valleys for refuge, and trees to build your nests. Your Creator loves you much and sent you with Noah on the Ark that you might not be lost to the world. You have not fallen into the sin of ingratitude but kept your mouths open with your singing praise to God that gives great joy. O my little sisters, we all must beware of ingratitude, and study always to give praise to God.” Then he moved his hands in a blessing over them.

All the birds opened their beaks in song, stretched their necks, spread their wings with joy and rose up into the air singing. They divided themselves into four groups, one group flying towards the east, another towards the west, one towards the south, and one towards the north, moving out with their praise to all parts of the earth, singing wonderfully, signifying that the humble companions, like little birds, should possess nothing in this world but the song of gratitude, and should cast all the care of their lives on the providence of God.

adapted by Barbara Flaherty from The Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi, by Brother Ugolino 

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