This was Saint Francis in my garden last Winter…
Many years ago when I was a teenager, I went to see a film in the local home town theatre. I never forgot it. The cinematography was exceptional. The way the story was portrayed, impressed upon my young mind the personality of Saint Francis so close to what I had imagined what Saint Francis must have been like.
After seeing this film, I was enamoured with Francis more than ever. I actually longed to meet him. This began for me my quest to try to understand him more deeply. I read about his relationship with Saint Clare and wished I had been her, and what ever books I could find about him I consumed.
Of course, all I could do was conjecture what he was like, but because the literature clearly put emphasis on his love and bond with for animals and with nature, it was easy to see his personality through this love of all creatures and the universe.. It has been said Saint Francis is a saint for the contemporary world. I believe this to be very true.
Later on in life as an adult, I joined a study group of lay Franciscans intending to perhaps take the journey of becoming a lay Franciscan. I thought this made me happy. It wasn’t meant to be, and I know now I don’t have to be a Franciscan to love animals or love the natural world, to love God, or to love others.
What I learned about Saint Francis was his humble nature, his love for humanity, and I’m certain he had to have a sense of humour. What became crystal clear to me, was that Saint Francis urged others to follow Jesus, not saints.
Happiness isn’t found worshipping or venerating saints, or any other human being.
Living in a world of celebrity worship, political systems, politicians, religious icons, or people, places, and things leads to nothing but unhappiness. The belief in an image, is a belief in unreality, because images do not exist .