Sunday, August 06, 2006

Croatian Chronicles: A Word from St. Francis

Ever since living in Italy and seeing Zeffirelli's film Brother Sun, Sister Moon, I have grown in admiration of Francis of Assisi. Not that the movie itself is wonderful, but it was my first look into anything more about Francis than the prayer that gets attributed to him. ("Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace," not actually proven to have any connection to Francis, probably written long after he died.)

If you want to learn more about his life (from a more historical than legendary source), I recommend Reluctant Saint, by Donald Spoto. Just don't read it unless you're willing to examine your own life and see room for growth!

Have I mentioned that Zadar has more churches than I've ever seen in as many square feet of land? It was amazing. Churches everywhere. We didn't even have time to learn the names of each of them.

But we did visit the Church of St. Francis. And there were two things I couldn't help but notice. First, there was actually a prayer group going on while we were there. You don't encounter that terribly often in Europe anymore, but Zadar seems to be different from much of Europe when it comes to churches.

The second thing was this little carving over the entrance to the church. The church itself, inside, was rather somber and serious. And then you have this jolly little figure out front. It kind of cracks me up.

As long as the heat wave in Memphis continues, I don't think I'll be blogging more than once a week. I have to spend my morning time watering plants, and that not only cuts down what I can get done in the morning (that I have to make up in the evening), it also zaps my energy. My body was not made for hot weather!

But being out with the flowers and foliage gives me lots to think about, fodder for another blog entry, perhaps. And that connection to nature also connects me to Francis, even though I'm far from Assisi these days.

If you're not familiar with it, below is a prayer we do know Francis authored, the Canticle of the Creatures. It would be a good one to memorize and think on while I'm out there watering, doing my little part to take care of God's amazing creation:

Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
all praise is yours, all glory, all honor,
and all blessing.

To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

All praise be yours, my Lord,
through all you have made,
and first my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day;
and through whom you give us light.
How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor;
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

All Praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon
and the stars; in the heavens you have made them,
bright, and precious, and fair.

All praise be yours, my Lord,
through Brothers wind and air, and fair and stormy,
all the weather's moods,
by which you cherish all that you have made.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water,
so useful, humble, precious and pure.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you brighten up the night.
How beautiful is he, how cheerful!
Full of power and strength.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through our Sister
Mother Earth, who sustains us and governs us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers
and herbs.

All praise be yours, my Lord,
through those who grant pardon for love of you;
through those who endure sickness and trial.
Happy are those who endure in peace,
By You, Most High, they will be crowned.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Death,
From whose embrace no mortal can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing your will!
The second death can do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks
And serve him with great humility.


janiebirdart said...

The only relationship I can imagine is that trees don't grow straight up, they branch off, like your idea of continuing to write (grow) but also branshing off, if you will. But you look sad in the picture. . .

Sheila said...

I remember that day. I wasn't sad. It's just that I have this huge mouth and most pictures of me are with BIG smiles, so every now and then I try to do one with my mouth shut. It usualy ends up looking sad. I guess my bone structure or something is just that way. So most of the time it's those big teeth! I don't make a good European....

Lawrence Underwood said...

It's a genetic thing. I find the same thing when I try to smile with closed lips. Ah well, it could be worse.