For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a love and passion for animals. As I was growing up we always had some kind of animal around. I’ve had dogs,cats, horses, a raccoon, a sugar glider, a ferret, a wolf, rabbits, and goats. You name it and I’d take it home to care and nurture it like it was my main job in life. 20 year later and I’m still doing the same thing. I have 3 dogs, 12 cats, a precious baby (read as: practically full grown) bottle calf, a slew of cattle and a handful of horses.
My husband claims that I have some kind of strange relationship and ability to communicate with animals. In fact he’s gone as far to say I can’t be “too close” to his horses, for I might put some kind of hypnotic spell on them and they’d be too tame and only ever like me. Ha! Maybe I should be offended, but I can’t help but take it as a compliment. This is where St. Francis comes in to play.
When I was in the 5th grade I had one of the most incredible preacher’s any kid could wish for! He had a part wolf-dog, and wolves were the very animal that set my heart on fire…and to be honest they still do. My parents and I were at the parsonage one evening and I noticed on our preacher’s mantel was a wooden sculpture of a man, who looked like a monk, with his arms outstretched and his head turned towards the heavens and he had small birds resting on each arm and a wolf at his feet. When I asked our preacher, “who is that on your mantel?” and he eagerly replied, ” That’s St. Francis, preacher to the animals and birds.” That image has stuck with me for years. I’m not Catholic and don’t really delve into the different Saints, but I can’t help to feel a special connection to St. Francis. He was said to have believed that nature itself was the mirror of God, referring to all creatures as his brothers and sisters. He was my kind of people. He wrote a lovely song called The Canticle of the Creatures that I think is worth a read when you have a chance.
So below is a picture of my Christmas St. Francis. I look forward to displaying it every year, to reflect my own heart, and long-living compassion for all living creatures.