Wednesday, October 04, 2006

St Francis of Assisi



October 4th is the feast of St Francis in the traditional Roman calendar and in the Pauline calendar. The illustration above commemorates St Francis' missionary journey to the Sultan of Egypt. He preached the faith to the Sultan Melek-el-Kamil at risk of his life but the sultan was impressed with his visitor and listened to him with interest. It wasn't a successful "preaching" as we count those things but success in the eyes of God may be something quite different.

A Franciscan poem by John Banister Tabb, Confederate soldier, Anglican convert, and priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore:


Brother Ass and Saint Francis

It came to pass
That "Brother Ass"
(As he his Body named)
Unto the Saint
Thus made complaint:
"I am unjustly blamed.

"Whate'er I do,
Like Balaam you
Requite me with a blow.
As for offense
to recompense
An ignominious foe.

"God made us one,
And I have done
No wickedness alone:
Nor can I do
Apart, as you,
An evil all my own.

"If Passion stir,
'Tis you that spur
My frenzy to the goal;
Then be the blame
Where sits the shame,
Upon the goading soul.

"Should one or both
Be blind or loath
Our brotherhood to see,
Remember this,
You needs must miss
Or enter heaven through me."

To this complaint
The lowly Saint
In tears replied, "Alas,
If so it be,
God punish me
And bless thee, Brother Ass."