St. Francis of Assisi

IMG_4723October 4th is the day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and ecology.  People the world over admire St. Francis for his simplicity and humility, along with his dedication to peace and the natural world.  Yes, the world would be a better place with more focus on of all of those virtues: simplicity, humility, peace, and ecology.  (The picture to the left is of the town of Assisi in Italy.)

A Franciscan once told me a story about Francis that I had not heard.  A young monk asked Francis if he could have a prayer book.  Francis thought for a moment and said, “The idea of prayer is important, and having a resource to help you pray sounds helpful. Having a book, though, means that you need a place to put the book or a way to carry the book.  Where then, will you put that shelf or bag that holds your book?  Will you be afraid of losing the book, or of the book getting stolen? Where do you want to focus your attention?”  I am sure you can guess the response of the young monk.

If you are interested in learning more about St. Francis of Assisi you could start with the Prayer of St. Francis, or watch Franco Zeffireelli’s Brother Sun, Sister Moon.  While the movie looks a bit dated, it is a classic.  There are also many books about St. Francis, such as St. Francis and the Foolishness of God.

Best Christmas Pageant Ever!

22  Best Christmas Pageant Ever

http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=d4KSXrz28uE

The Herdmans are the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie, steal, smoke cigars, swear, and hit little kids. So no one is prepared when this outlaw family invades church one Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant.

None of the Herdmans has ever heard the Christmas story before. Their interpretation of the tale — the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating — has a lot of people up in arms. But it will make this year’s pageant the most unusual anyone has seen and, just possibly, the best one ever.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

20        A Charlie Brown Christmas

When Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism that he sees amongst everyone during the Christmas season, Lucy suggests that he become director of the school Christmas pageant. Charlie Brown accepts, but it proves to be a frustrating struggle. When an attempt to restore the proper spirit with a forlorn little fir Christmas tree fails, he needs Linus’ help to learn what the real meaning of Christmas is.

Charles Schultz, the creator of Charlie Brown, is from St. Paul, MN.Screen shot 2012-12-19 at 9.41.49 PM