Francis of Assisi, Italy lived in the 13th Century but he is often called The Saint for the 21st Century! The present Bishop of Rome did more to acclaim the timeliness and timelessness of St. Francis by choosing the name for his papal identity. He said, “I will be called POPE FRANCIS.” There are abundant stories about both St. Francis and Pope Francis; they have chosen to “let their lives speak.” St. Francis told his brothers to use words only when necessary. The Gospel was the Rule St. Francis chose to follow; The first encyclical writing of Pope Francis was, THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL.
St. Francis expressed his profound relational insight with all of creation near the end of his life in the CANTICLE OF CREATION when he spoke of Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brother Wind, Sister Water. Pope Francis second encyclical was devoted to the care of creation which he entitled, LAUDATO SI, opening words of the Canticle composed by St. Francis, “Praise be to you, my Lord.” God is revealed in our sister Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs. Pope Francis said, “This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse” and through seeing ourselves as her lords and master. The recent hurricanes and earth quakes with unprecedented winds and water in our hemisphere are an urgent cause for reconciliation with our earthly home. On this festal day of celebrating St Francis, let us implore him to guide his Franciscan family with deeper love and care for Mother Earth and to choose one specific action of praise and protection for her as she “groans in travail.” (Romans8:22)