St Francis of Assisi, the original hippie, died on this day in 1226. He was the founder of the Franciscans, devoted himself to a life of poverty, and is the patron saint of animals and the environment. His life was captured in the beautiful, wistful -- if slightly dated -- 1972 film "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" by Franco Zeffirelli.
The church celebrates his feast day on October 4 and our church celebrated yesterday with a blessing of the animals (to which someone brought a horse right into the nave!). Since I was a small child, I've always loved this prayer. It actually embodies Gandhi's "Be the change you want to see in the world" and is full of lovely, bright optimism:
"O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, harmony.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sorrow, joy.
Oh Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying we are brought to Eternal Life."