October 4th is an awesome day! October 4th is the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. First of all, a feast is a celebration. And a saint is a person whose life shines with the light of God.
Francis lived a very LONG time ago. Eight hundred years ago. He came from a very rich family but he chose to give all his riches away so that he could help the poor. He lived in a small village very simply — nothing fancy but beautiful just the same. He loved nature, the sun, the moon, the stars, the wind and water. He called them his brothers and sisters.
And animals — all kinds of animals were his friends. If he caught a fish, he threw it back in the water. He convinced a ferocious wolf to calm down and stop scaring the neighbors. He even preached to birds! Yes, he talked to them just as he would talk to any friend.
Francis loved God the Creator and all of God’s creation!
Being home so much, I have found myself talking to my cats: Cheshire and Charlie. They are orange tabby, ginger cats — just three years old. They have been kind to let me live in their space (my house!). They are my roommates and we have grown closer these last six months. Charlie likes helping with laundry. Cheshire likes hiding in boxes. Well they both like playing with boxes! They keep me company but best of all they make me laugh!
Do you talk to animals? Our pets don’t speak English, but they do know the sound of our voices. They can hear the happiness and sadness, joy and energy, kindness and love in our words.
And even if we don’t have pets, when we are outdoors we can watch and listen for the birds in the trees, the butterflies in the bushes, and the worms squirming in the dirt.
Caring for God’s creatures brings us closer to God our Creator.
And that is why today on the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi we bless the animals. Today we are going to do that at Zoom Coffee Hour at 11:30 a.m. So, bring your fish, you pet parakeet, your hermit crab, your rabbit, your cat, or your dog and Chuck and I will bless them electronically!
And oh yes, stuffed animals are welcome too!
Can’t wait to see you there!
The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog