Friday, October 03, 2008

Patron of Peace... and Pets... and Poverty... and Pretty Much Everything Else

Tonight, the Franciscan family across the globe will hold the traditional vigil of the Transitus, this year marking the 782nd anniversary of Poverello of Assisi's passage into the arms of "Sister Death."

Yet with his feast at hand tomorrow, as St Francis Day's even better known for the common celebration of the Blessing of Animals, in the spirit of the memorial this week's Brooklyn Tablet features a centerfold of the diocese's priests and their pets. Elsewhere, for anyone seeking even more heavenly aid for a furry friend, a special Pet PrayerLine is taking requests... and for those of us who've lost one (and, yep, still miss 'em), here's hoping tomorrow brings some gift of nature that'll provide a bit of comfort and joy.

On a weightier note, the traditional account of Francis' death notes that among the "model" deacon's last words to his gathered confreres were these: "I have done my part. May Christ teach you to do yours."

Much has changed since the patron of peace first heard the call to "rebuild my church"... but it doesn't take much looking around to see that the charge remains as pressing today as it was in 1205.

It's still a work in progress, but even so, as each of us -- the "living stones" who, each in our own way, are called to continue the task -- keep it going, it's worth remembering that, just like the Poverello, none of us'll complete or perfect it on our own, but the greatest contribution we each make is just putting our "part" into the building. And if Francis' legacy is any indicator, no construction material stands the test of time better than that attractive mix of earthy faith and contagious joy which is the sign of the saints.

To one and all, especially his spiritual children among us, a blessed and buona festa.