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Happy World Animal Day!

October 4 is the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, nature, environment, ecologists, San Francisco, the Franciscans and every one named Francis.

For the more secular, the day is also World Animal Day. The day is apt since Francis really loved animals. The Little Flowers of Saint Francis tell of tales of how Francis talked to the birds, tamed the Wolf of Gubbio, preached to the fish and when he died, thanked his donkey.

But Francis is best known for the prayer attributed to him. The Prayer of Saint Francis is one of the most known in Christian spirituality. But this prayer probably dates just back to 1912. One prayer the Canticle of the Sun (Canticle of the Creatures) was really written by Francis himself in 1224. Considered as one of the foundation pieces of the Italian language, It has been translated to many languages. October 4 is also the day when animals are blessed in church. I myself have assisted at the Mass of the Animals and all sorts of sounds, woof, meow, hiss, chirp and squawk drowned the prayer of consecration. To some the Mass is a preview of what a restored creation really is. All animals are in peace.

Francis, is the original Western cultural rebel. His idea that nature wasn't meant for domination and the worlds of nature and God are one continues to challenge us.


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