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FRANCIS AND THE BIRDS - Reflections
and commentaries of other writers and theologians.

 Julien Green
God's Fool

1985, Harper and Row, translated by Peter Heinnegg, page 165

All sorts of different birds await[ed] Francis in a vast meadow at the outskirts of the town. There were also an incredible number of birds in the trees all around. The crows and their cousins, the long-beaked black rooks, added a serious note to that colorful gathering, which was lightened by the clear notes of the wood pigeons and the orange-throated bullfinches. All the birds of the countryside were there, the birds that pilfered and those that lived only to sing and the ones that haunted the rocks or nested in the furrows. When Francis drew near, not one of them budged, not even a magpie.
 

 

Fr. James Torrens, SJ
Who Feeds The Birds?

 

Preacher Saint Francis
     serves up the gospel to birds;

my neighbor's bright red feeders
     sweeten the hummingbirds;

the fish under the pelican flotilla
     end up as lunch for birds;

the world's surplus of flies
     is a feast for flycatcher birds;

patches of suet on a tree trunk
     fuel the winder birds;

a carcass delights a buzzard,
     who isn't the pickiest of birds;

worms wriggling through wet ground
     are a morsel for early birds;

Francis with his handful of seed
     caters to fine-feathered birds;

The Lord of heaven
     portions out the song to birds.
"My little sisters the birds, ye owe much to God, your Creator, and ye ought to sing his praise at all times and in all places, because he has given you liberty to fly about into all places; and though ye neither spin nor sew, he has given you a twofold and a threefold clothing for yourselves and for your offspring." 

 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Sermon of Francis
"O brother birds," Saint Francis said,
"Ye come to me and ask for bread,
But not with bread alone today
Shall ye be fed and sent away."

Xavier Schnieper
Saint Francis of Assisi

1981, Frederick Muller Ltd, page 80

 

 
Francis came to see the world and the cosmos as creation praising and magnifying God. This was how he arrived at a vision of nature as reality without sin, the pledge of God's love. He therefore turned to animals and birds, and to flowers and trees and sought to open the eyes and senses of his contemporaries to the innate essence and wonder of the natural life about them.
 

Fr. Jack Wintz, O.F.M.
St. Franics Belongs on the Birdbath

September 28, 2005, Friar Jack's E-Spirations
We should see ourselves as stewards within creation, not as separate from it. Francis was ahead of his time, He saw himself, as do today’s ecologists, as part of the ecosystem, not as some proud master over and above it. Francis addressed creatures as “brother” and “sister”—as equals, not subjects to be dominated.

Gerard Thomas Straub


The Sun and Moon Over Assisi

2000, St. Anthony Messenger Press,
page 169
 

First, we must understand that Francis was not merely a nature lover. That's too simple. Francis loved God...and because God created nature, Francis loved nature. The different kinds of birds symbolized people--people of all races, nationalities and personalities who together make up a single diverse flock of humanity. And Francis has gathered them all together so they can hear him proclaim the Good News of the gospel. Francis is telling us that we must not only take care of nature and each other, but we must also share the Good New with all creation. 

Murray Bodo, O.F.M
Francis The Journey and the Dream

2011, St. Anthony Messenger Press, page 83
 

Because he possessed nothing, he was possessed by all the free creatures of God. All of creation loved him, every bird and animal, and Francis knew it and loved them in return.
Francis loved most tenderly the larks of Umbria. In comparison to them as they soared high in the blue skies of spring, he was the merest sparrow of a man. Sparro! How fitting a name for himself. A poor ragged little sparrow. That was Francis. Feathers ruffled and frayed at the ends, brown and plain, perching on the balconies of Assis, chirping his love songs to the poor and meek, the outcasts and beggars who do not need a lark to make them happy. Even he, poor sparrow of faded brown, could cheer them happy. Even he, poor sparrow of faded brown, could cheer the meek who seldom raised their eyes high enough to see a lark magnificent in its soaring and swooping in the clear skies of freedom. 

 John August Swanson
Artist's Notes for PAPAGENO

Birds appearing in dreams are often viewed as symbols of freedom. They may also represent thoughts, imagination, and ideas that, by nature, require freedom to manifest. In ancient times, birds were believed to be vehicles for the soul, possessing the ability to carry the spirit to heaven.
 


 

 

 

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