Friar Jack's Musings About Francis

October 4 is the feast of my favorite saint, Francis of Assisi, founder ofthe Franciscan Order. There are many things to love about Francis. I wroteabout one of them in the following excerpt from my book "Lights:Revelations of God's Goodness," published by St. Anthony Messenger Press.

Perhaps my own attraction to nature made me curious about St. Francis'habit of calling his fellow creatures "brother" and "sister." The littlesaint went happily about the Italian countryside, calling out with affection, "Brother Sun" and "Sister Moon," to "Brother Fire" and "Sister Water," to "Sister Swallow" and "Brother Cricket" and so forth. Whatsecret instinct or intuition, I wondered, led him to this easy, familialrelationship with all creation? What fueled his vision of the universe asone happy, interconnected family?

First, I believe that Francis had an uncomplicated yet deep sense of thecommon goodness of all creation because he saw it coming from the samegood creator. This, of course,  made him a brother to all: If the marigoldand the wolf had the same father in heaven that he did, then, quitesimply, they were brother and sister to him.

More than this, it seems, the meaning of the Incarnation hit hisimagination like a bombshell. Somehow he realized that when the Wordentered the world of creation and became flesh, everything was profoundlychanged. If God became a part of the created world in the birth of JesusChrist, then the dignity of all creatures was raised to a dramatically newheight.--from "Lights: Revelations of God's Goodness," by Jack Wintz, O.F.M., p.61. You can learn more about this book in our online catalog.


FRANCIS, PETS, YOUTH - ALL BLESSINGS IN OCTOBER!: celebrates the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (Oct.4) all month with a newly revised feature, "St. Francis of Assisi: Loverof All Creation." This feature includes stories of St. Francis, a nationallisting of pet-blessing ceremonies (blessings in 36 states to date!), somesample pet blessings for "do-it-yourself" blessings and a pet-blessinge-Greeting to send your blessing to friends and family-and pets withe-mail accounts!

St. Anthony Messenger Online features "The Forgotten Art of Blessing" bySascha T. Moore. Blessings are an important part of our faith. It's timewe made them an important part of our lives. Visit here to discover waysto bless pets, teens, the elderly and even shoppers!

Come visit a NEW place where Catholic youth can explore faith issues, askquestions and find answers and develop further understanding ofCatholicism. features a new question and answereach week, as well as daily inspirational sayings, each linked to a newe-Greeting. The "Two or More Gathered" section features links to dailyreadings from the liturgy and easy to understand explanations of Catholicworship. Stop by and ask a question:


Consider reading a contemporary pilgrimage diary this month. "The Sun and Moon Over Assisi: A Personal Encounter with Francis and Clare" by GerardThomas Straub. Traverse the charming Umbrian hill towns, including Assisi,tour its churches and examine the art of Giotto found there. Perhaps you,like the author, will let Francis "inflame" your imagination.


Send an All Hallow's Eve e-Greeting and its companion, the Catholic Updatearticle, "How Halloween Can Be Redeemed," a popular explanation of theChristian roots of Halloween, and the colorful tale of Jack O'Lantern.

Search through all of's resources for more information about St. Francis!


Check out This is the international web site of theOrders of Friars Minor. There you'll get an insight into the breadth ofFranciscan ministries around the world. Francis wanted his friars to goout and be among the people in the marketplace--the Internet is themarketplace of the 21st century!


As always, please E-mail your suggestions and comments Francis was fond of saying, Pax et bonum! (Peace and all good!)

--Jack Wintz, O.F.M.

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