He sits under the myrtle tree on the side of my driveway. Before that, he kept watch in my “Mimi” and “Grandaddy’s” garden. He is very worn from being exposed to the elements over many years, and is broken in two pieces, but you can still see his features. You can still see the contemplative, almost melancholy look on his face.
I wonder why he wears that look. Perhaps he wears that look until his prayers for love, pardon, union, faith, hope, light, and joy are realized. Perhaps he wears that look because his prayers for us to be instruments of God’s peace are met with more violence like what we have seen in Las Vegas. Perhaps he wears that look because he, like me, and perhaps like you, the reader, has more questions than answers about what happened in Las Vegas. Perhaps he wears that look because he, like me, and perhaps like you, the reader, is weary of waiting for the in-breaking of God’s reign in our broken world.
Wednesday was his feast day. He is the patron saint of animals and gardens. This past Sunday we commemorated St. Francis’s life by blessing cats, dogs, stuffed animals, and there was even a couple of hermit crabs named ‘Coke’ and ‘Pepsi.’ A new song was sung to the Lord as a chorus of barking, meowing, and the laughter of our Chapel Children filled the air. We collected a variety of foods and treats for our homeless friends at Webster Animal Shelter. Everything we did Sunday evening was a protest and stood in direct opposition to the violence, cruelty, evil, and hatred that would occur later that same evening in Las Vegas.
On Sunday evening as we gathered in front of the Chapel for the Blessing of the Animals, St. Francis’s prayers for love, pardon, union, faith, hope, light, and joy were realized. On Sunday evening, we were instruments of God’s peace. On Sunday evening, we received a glimpse of God’s reign in our broken world. On Sunday evening, I like to think that old statue of St. Francis outside of the Chapel of the Cross cracked a smile.