Thursday, October 7, 2010

St. Francis (Blessing of Animals) Sermon

St. Francis & Mustard Seed Faith

This morning’s Gospel on faith – Mustard Seed
St Francis had mustard seed faith
– not at first Being born in a wealthy Italian family
- a wild youth
- a brief & unsuccessful career as a soldier

In a dilapidated Church, Francis had a conversion experience – “Francis, Francis, go and repair My house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins" It changed his life. It inspired him to give up his family’s wealth and devote his life to God.

He not only fixed up that particular Church but went about preaching about God and fixing the Church wherever he went. Francis' deep love of God overflowed into love for all God's creation—expressed not only in his tender care of lepers and his unsuccessful attempt to negotiate peace between Muslims and Christians during the fifth Crusade, but also in his prayers of thanksgiving for creation, his sermons preached to animals, and his insistence that all creatures are brothers and sisters under God. And on this day when we bless animals, here is one of those stories about St Francis & animals:
"Once he went to a village called Alviano to preach. The people gathered and he called for silence. But some swallows nesting there were shrieking so much that he could not be heard at all. In the hearing of all, he spoke to them: 'My sister swallows, now it is time for me also to speak, since you have already said enough. Hear the word of God and stay quiet until the word of the Lord is completed.' As if capable of reason, they immediately fell silent, and did not leave from the place until the whole sermon was over. All who saw this were filled with amazement and gave glory to God."
May we live out our mustard seed faith like Francis - loving all of God’s creation – and be loving stewards of the pets that are in our care. Amen.

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