Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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Prayer for a Lost Dog

Today is the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and the environment. You can read my favorite Saint Francis story in this post about Saint Francis and the wolf.

The following events happened just a few days ago.

dogs running Pixabay (2)

 

On the way to the laundromat to wash my 17-year-old dog’s favorite bed, I saw a dog running down the busy street in the opposite direction. It was a dark grey dog, maybe a hound/pit bull mix, running with that panicked, I’m lost gait. Without thinking, I pulled onto a side street to turn around and fished out the leash I kept in the console. I couldn’t see the dog, but traffic had slowed considerably, and people were honking ahead of me.

I prayed out loud: “God please help that dog! Please get him off the road! Help him Now! (I had no idea if the dog was a male, but that’s what came out.) Within a few seconds I saw the dog, several cars ahead, make a right turn into an apartment complex. Okay, he’s safe. You have things to do, I told myself.  But somehow, my car turned into the apartment complex. He’s not safe; he’s scared.  Maybe he’ll come to me, said my other voice, brushing aside thoughts of then what are you going to do if you catch him?  I parked my car and started walking through the apartment complex carrying the leash. A guy near the pool house asked if I was looking for a dog.

“Yeah but it’s not mine. He was running down the street. I thought I might be able to catch him.”

“He went that way,” the pool guy said pointing further into the complex.

I kept walking, past the dumpsters and around a corner, seeing no sign of the dog.  He’s gone. Let it go. At least he’s not on the street. Maybe he’ll find his way home, I told myself. But for some reason, I kept walking through the unfamiliar apartment complex.

Then, I saw a young woman walking toward me. She must have seen the leash. “Are you looking for a dog?”

“Yes, but he’s not mine. He was running down the street,” I said pointing in the direction of the busy road.

“He’s in my apartment. He came right to my boyfriend.”

“Oh, good. Thank you. I’m glad he’s safe.”

“I work for a vet,” she said. “I’ll take him into work so see if he has a microchip.”

“Thank you so much for taking him in,” I said bowing slightly with praying hands.

“Thank you for looking for him,” she said.

“Of course.”

I walked back to my car feeling grateful that the dog found a safe place and someone in a position to help him, and that I’d kept walking long enough to find that out.

Back in my car, I said to God, “I didn’t mean to be rude with that, now! part.

God just smiled.

(The photo from pixabay reminded me of the dog.)

 

Happy Saint Francis Day!

st-francis-of-assisi-and-birds from Robert Kennedy's book

This picture is from the book Saint Francis of Assisi, A Life of Joy,

by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.


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Saint Francis and the Awkward Moment

socsbadge2016-17

First, thank you to Joey for filling in for Linda Hill on today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt. I hope Linda is doing well, and I appreciate these prompts every week. Joey’s prompt for today is the word,”awkward.”

So many awkward moments I could write about. But I really want to write about Saint Francis of Assisi because tomorrow is his feast day, when we celebrate his birth and life.

The first thing that comes to mind in the SOC intersection of Saint Francis and “awkward,” is the story about him taking all his clothes off in the middle of town in front of God and everybody. I’ll bet his family was mortified. They were a wealthy and prominent family and must have thought he had lost his mind. But Francis had had enough of the materialistic lifestyle and wanted to do something else. He was called to help the sick and to preach to the animals. He gave up his possessions and founded an order that became the Franciscans.

st-francis-the-wolf-cinque-terra-italy

A statue of Saint Francis and the wolf in Cinque Terra, Itally

 

I hope his parents eventually appreciated his strangeness that was part of being outside the box. It reminds me of that poem about the “crazy ones.”

 

This kinda reminds me of my son, though he has never taken his clothes off in public. Not to my knowledge anyway.

And I’m not going to tell you about my high school graduation night. Nope. No way. But it was in 1974, when streaking was a thing, so you can imagine….. I’ll just say, it was definitely awkward.Damn, that Stream of Consciousness. I better stop now. Pull this boat over and tie it to a dock. I mean, what would Saint Francis think about me mentioning streaking in his post? This is awkward.

Here’s to all the awkward moments. May we learn to laugh about them.

If you’d like to read more Streams of Consciousness about “awkward,” visit:

https://lindaghill.com/2016/09/30/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-116/

Here are the SOC rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


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Mother Earth

“Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs”.  __ Saint Francis of Assisi

Mother Earth is a living organism

Saint Francis knew her as alive. She is part of Creation. Like the moon and the stars. Like fire and water and wind. Like bees, trees, and crystals. All have energy given to them by God. All can benefit us, if we love, honor, and respect the gifts. Yet, all living things have their own reasons to live, their own songs to sing, and their own dreams to dream. We were created to live in harmony with all life.

It’s not too late. We can learn. We can heal together.

(This post is part of my Earth Month Celebration. Because Mother Earth deserves more than one day.)

 


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What Would Jesus Eat?

Working on last week’s post about being a true vegetarian for lent, I  came across this book, What Would Jesus Eat?

http://www.amazon.com/What-Would-Jesus-Eat-Ultimate/dp/0785273190

I confess I’ve only read summaries so far. But apparently, Jesus ate mostly bread and fish. He probably ate some grapes, dates, olives and figs. He probably didn’t eat much beef, and didn’t eat pork at all. I don’t think Jesus ate chocolate, but that might need some research.

If Jesus lived today, in the flesh, I think he’d be a vegetarian, mostly. I’m pretty sure Saint Francis would be a vegetarian. They might have accepted donations of meat, but then they might have given those away.

I really enjoyed some grilled tofu and veggies sprinkled with peanuts for lunch yesterday. I’m not missing chicken at all.


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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.


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Honoring Saint Francis

st-francis-of-assisi-and-birds from Robert Kennedy's book

Illustration by Dennis Nolan from Saint Francis of Assisi (A Life of Joy) by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

     Today is the Feast Day of Saint Francis who was born in Assisi in 1182. He was a man ahead of his time. Years ago,  I struggled to find a link between my potentially pagan love for nature and animals and something (maybe a combination of motherhood and compassion fatigue from my job helping others) pulling me back to Jesus. Discovering Saint Francis was one of those “Aha!” moments. It was a relief to find this teacher who could bridge my two beloved spiritual paths to the Creator.

        I  was drawn back to church by a newspaper photo of an animal being blessed at the Church of the Good Shepherd. Back then, Good Shepherd may have been the first church in Southeastern North Carolina to bless animals. It started in the late 60s’ on Rogation Sunday, a time to give thanks for crops and livestock. Since that time, it has become a tradition at Good Shepherd and many other churches to bless the animals on the Sunday closest to the Feast Day of Saint Francis.  Blessing the animals to honor Saint Francis is much more meaningful to me, because our animal companions mean so much more than livestock. (Though I hope all the animals we now call “livestock” will someday be treated more kindly.)

     Our animal friends give us loyalty and patient companionship. They love us no matter what, and hopefully, they teach us mercy.  There’s a sweet little song called “God and Dog” in which Wendy Francisco sings about how dogs reflect the unconditional love of God. Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment, understood this relationship.  He cherished animals and the earth, praised the sun and the moon and cared for the lepers because they are all creations of God.

There is a wonderful book, written by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr about Saint Francis of Assisi. One of the stories in this book is a story about Saint Francis convincing a vicious wolf to stop terrorizing the town of Gubbio. Miraculously, “Brother Wolf” lived the rest of his life “peacefully in Gubbio- fed, cared for and loved by the townspeople, because it reminded them of Francis’ visit.

Let us remember today and always the words  of Saint Francis, ” Make me a channel of your peace.”

statue-of-st-francis-of-assisi-gino-rigucci