Unconditional Peace

A Sermon for the Feast of Saint Francis & Blessing of the Animals

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas. Text: Isaiah 11:1 – 9. 

We are here today to celebrate the life of Saint Francis – a man whom we remember in this service by blessing the animals who make our lives so full. St. Francis was known in his lifetime for a particular communion with ALL the animals around him – and part of his love for all animals, beautiful and not-so-beautiful, was because he literally lived among the animals – St. Francis was a homeless man. He was a church reformer who believed the best way to know Jesus was by begging with the poor in the streets, because the poor know Jesus the best.

St. Francis was also known for being a broker of radical peace between humans and animals. He famously befriended a wolf that was terrorizing an Italian village and brought both the wolf and the people into a reconciling relationship where the people would feed the wolf in exchange for the wolf’s protection and companionship. Continue reading