Sadly, it was not an evening conducive to a Franciscan blessing of the resident four-legged beast at Casa LutheranChica this evening -- my dog wilfully whizzed in the house not once but three times, eliciting some non-celebratory commentary on my part and leading to his repeated exiles to the back yard -- but I did spend some time thinking about St. Francis, a man who literally abandoned everything to follow Christ.
It's hard for me to comprehend the holiness and wholeheartedness of Francis. But there's a little part of me that wonders if I would find a face-to-face encounter with Francis compelling or off-putting. I often feel uncomfortable reading about the great heroes and heroines of Scripture and Church history, and suspect that if I met some of them I'd be repelled by them -- by their single-minded fervor, by their odd behaviors, by their "otherness."
On the other hand -- history records that Francis was a friend to peasants, to lepers, even to the wild animals...less of a plaster saint and more of a fellow traveler. Maybe, if he'd been visiting me tonight, he'd have gotten out the stain remover and sponge, rolled up his rough-woven brown sleeves and helped me clean my carpet.
Here are some prayers for the day, as well as a reflection on Francis' legendary encounter with the wolf, and the broader implications of that story.