Saint Francis Tames a Ferocious Wolf

St Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio

(An imaginary letter  from 13th Century Gubbio, Italy)

My Dear Sister,

As you may remember from my previous letters, there has a been a dangerous wolf terrorizing Gubbio. The large wolf has been seen stealing sheep and goats, and has even taken away small children as well as grown men, or so I have been told. Yesterday, Friar Francis of Assisi, who has been a guest in Gubbio for some time, amazed us all by taming the vicious beast.

The wolf was outside the city walls chasing some sheep, as men gathered with pitchforks, rocks and slings to try to chase the wolf away. Our beloved Francis intervened and asked them to wait. The brave friar walked toward the wolf who snarled viciously and then charged at him with his mouth open. We could see the white of the wolf’s teeth from the city walls.

Then Francis made the sign of the cross, and the wolf stopped suddenly, closed his mouth and crawled on his belly toward the friar to rest at his feet. Francis appeared to speak to  the wolf who became as docile as a lamb and followed Francis back to the city. The friar told the townspeople not to harm the wolf.

“Brother Wolf has acted in evil ways due to his hunger. If you will feed him every day and care for him, he will not harm anyone. I ask you to forgive him and show him God’s mercy,” said Friar Francis.

He asked who would offer a piece of  food to the wolf. I looked down at the loaves of bread I was to deliver to my neighbor, and ignoring all common sense, I broke off a piece and walked toward Francis and the wolf. I do not know what came over me. In spite of the warnings of my friends, I knelt  cautiously before the wolf, and reached out to offer the bread. The wolf took the bread gently from my hand, like an old dog.

The people of Gubbio have promised Friar Francis to feed and care for the wolf, who is becoming a part of our community. We shall see how this unusual truce plays out. What is more unusual: I am considering joining the holy order of this Francis who some are calling a saint. Please do not tell our parents of this yet, as I know they wish for me stay here as the baker’s apprentice, and I am not sure if I will awaken from some dream about a wolf being tamed by a holy man.

My love in Christ,

Your brother, Antonio

______________________________________________________________________

I share my imaginary letter hoping to honor Saint Francis and his upcoming feast day, celebrated October 4th. The following article tells that the wolf lived in Gubbio for two years and offers evidence that there is some truth to the legend.

  “According to tradition, Gubbio gave the wolf an honorable burial and later built the Church of Saint Francis of the Peace at the site. During renovations in 1872, the skeleton of a large wolf, apparently several centuries old, was found under a slab near the church wall and then reburied inside.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_of_Gubbio

One of my favorite sources on Saint Francis is this beautiful book by Robert F. Kennedy Jr:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/797841.Saint_Francis_of_Assisi

Is there a Blessing of the Animals in your church or community honoring Saint Francis this weekend? Does anyone know of a Saint Francis Festival? If so, I’d love to learn about it.

Prayer, Support and Healing

red tealight

We got a phone call, last Thursday night, that my two year old grandson, 700 miles away, was in the hospital with a bad case of pneumonia. A little while later I found out he had been helicoptered to a university hospital and was on a ventilator.
It was the night before our parish retreat at Trinity Center, where my husband and I would have leadership roles in morning and evening prayer services. Part of me wanted to get on a plane and fly to where my grandson was. Maybe I could help with something. But instead I prayed and tried to have faith that God had this covered. I asked for prayers on Facebook, something I don’t do often, especially for myself or some one in my family. Why is it easier for me to ask for prayers for some one outside of my family, or total strangers even? Maybe it’s the scary part of feeling vulnerable when I ask for prayers for myself or some one close to me.

The little guy was on my mind all day Friday. I’d called my Dad, the most powerful prayer warrior I know, to join the team. At times I was able to push away my fears and visualize my grandson healthy and strong, running and playing outside with a smile on his face.  That felt like the right thing to do.

Late Friday afternoon, at Trinity Center, my husband, David,  asked me to follow him. I figured he wanted to show me something. He took me to the little chapel where tea light candles rested in a bowl of sand, waiting.  Together, we lit a candle for my grandson, and David read from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer: A Prayer for Healing. I was moved that he thought of this. After dinner, at the Compline service, I asked my church family to pray with me. I prayed for my grandson’s healing, for wisdom for his doctors and nurses, and for comfort to his parents. I was worried, but something told me God was working on this.

On Saturday morning, we got up at dawn to watch the sun rise over the ocean, but the sky was overcast, so we couldn’t see the sun. Instead we watched pelicans dive for their breakfast. After our breakfast in the dining hall, we had Morning Prayer, discussion and meditation time. Then, I went back to our room to get an update on my grandson. His doctor had decided to use a scope to take a look into his collapsed right lung. They found an obstruction  that could not be removed with the scope, so surgery was needed. The obstruction turned out to be a kidney bean.

Kidney beans on a shelf

Use with caution!

 

Who knew kidney beans could cause that kind of trouble?

 

 

 

 

That night, during Evening Prayer, I was filled with gratitude as we sang “Amazing Grace” accompanied by simple guitar chords and the sweet rain dancing outside.

After the kidney bean was removed, my grandson’s condition began to improve right away. His right lung started to work, and he came off the ventilator. He was discharged from the hospital on Sunday. His mom said he was so ready to go, he almost ran out the door.

What a relief to know he was okay! But it was not a total surprise. I’d felt the fear, but there was much more hope. Being at Trinity Center, surrounded by nature, with my husband and members of our church family, was a big comfort. I realized how important it is to have good support and to have a relationship with a loving, caring power greater than ourselves.

Thank you, God!

For a look at Trinity Center, where we held our parish retreat:

http://joannesilvia.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/trinity-weekend-relax-restore-and-revitalize-with-nature/

Peace and Darth Vader

A stream of consciousness post from my sci-fi side:

Darth_vader_hot_air_balloon_1

Thanks to “Harsh Reality” for asking the question:

“Who else is tired of all the killing and would like a little peace?”

http://aopinionatedman.com/2014/09/12/the-daily-opinion-peace/comment-page-1/#comment-184976

One of his comments got me to thinking about whether an alien invasion would unite humanity and bring peace. It could, ultimately. But it would probably take a while, like when Darth Vader ultimately brought balance to the force as predicted. It just took a really long time for Vader to turn back into Anakin Skywalker and throw the evil emperor into the whatchamacallit. Luke believed his father could be saved when he said, “I know there is good in him. I have felt it.” He was right. But don’t let that keep you in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. Luke didn’t live with his crazy, bully of a father. He only visited long enough to trick the emperor into getting thrown to his death. (Luke had huge faith in the Force.) If Anakin had survived, his torment would have been hard to live with.

I found this touching video of the death of Vader/Anakin where he recalls happier moments:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qruijbk6_VU

What I really like about this story is that while Anakin turning to the dark side brought despair instead of the balance the Jedi knights hoped for, this had to happen so that he could eventually kill the emperor many years later in order to save his son who saved him. Everything had seemed so wrong, but worked out right in the end.

So never give up hope. Speaking of which, let’s hope peace comes to our planet, without an alien invasion, unless it’s a invasion of logic from the Vulcans.

Has there been a time in your life when things seemed all wrong, but eventually worked out right?

Recycling 99% of our Trash Is Possible!

Recycle bin

The goal is to recycle more than we waste. Way more.

“The world has a garbage problem.”

Sweden is taking a giant step in the right direction by recycling 99% of their trash as described in the video below. They incinerate about half to make energy, but first, they sort out the organic material, metals, glass, etc.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152368487537499&set=vb.199701427498&type=2&theater

My husband gets excited about composting. Having discovered first hand how 40% of the produce grown in this country is wasted, he does what he can to divert local organic material from rotting in the landfill, and dreams of a large scale composting operation that would create and capture energy. He’s always going on about black soldier fly larvae and worms being so helpful in breaking down garbage. I don’t mind him going on about it, because I know it’s a good thing.

I tend to be more localized to the home front, saving banana peels in the freezer, and putting everything I can in the recycle bin. I’ve recently started saving plastic reusable to-go containers  from a couple of the more eco-friendly restaurants and taking them with me when we go out to eat where the only take out containers available are made of styrofoam. I don’t care if anybody thinks this is weird. That’s how much I hate styrofoam, which I say like a cuss word, because it can take up to one million years to decompose, and is typically refused by recycling companies.

Now, if I can just remember to take those canvas bags to the grocery store!

We can all make a difference, one step at at time.

What’s something you do, or would like to do to reduce, reuse or recycle?

Perspective Worth Pondering

JoAnne Silvia:

This post reminds me of all the times I’ve run or walked through the rain. A summer rain shower is generally safe and refreshing. But making the decision to stand, walk, or run through any rain brings feelings of excitement, bravery, and adventure, not to mention the urge to sing!

Originally posted on Eric Tonningsen's "Awakening to Awareness":

“The tragic or the humorous is a matter of perspective.” ~ Arnold Beisser

Most of my posts take four to five minutes to read. Today, in lieu of 400-500 words, this four minutes video.

“A washing.” I like that perspective.

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