Reflection Masthead
Issue 129 - Saint  Francis - October 2015
   Last weekend, I picked up again a marvelous book, Francis and Clare in Poetry: An Anthology, edited by Janet McCann and David Craig.  Poets from William Wordsworth to Billy Collins and Denise Levertov reflect on the lives and impact of the two Assisi saints, Francis and Clare. 
  The editors have chosen great, stimulating poetry, from authors well-known and little-known (Olympia Sibley's "St. Francis in North Zulch at 1:00 A.M" is a highlight - especially for those of us who have been to North Zulch, Texas!). 
   But there are so many gems, like these lines from Rick Wilson:
"The leper that I've shunned / Is the Christ I'm asked to face / On this journey I've begun."     
   This anthology inspired my poem on the right.

Past Issues


2-Creating Sacred Space

3-Leaving Footprints


5-Ordered Life

76-Vanier Visit

87-Wondrous Fear, Holy Awe

91-Crater Lake


101-On Reflections 

102-Morning Moments

108-NBA Championship

110-On Freedom 

112 Robin Williams 


116-Kentucky Epiphany 

119-Christmas Mystery  


121-Radical Amazement 

122-St.John's Bible 

124-Botanical Garden 

126-Call of the King 

127-Living Our Stories 

128-Pope Francis     

Link to all past issues     


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Not our Name
Francis was not his real name:
The other lads called him "Frenchy"
(It was his mother's land and tongue) -
"Francesco, Francesco!"
Francesco, Franziskus, Francis: St Francis
The saint's name echoes now
in many tongues, in myriad lands,
echoes even in Rome,
upon the chair of Peter -
an unlikely place, indeed,
for this Little Brother, advocate
of poverty, opponent
of all pomp and power.
Fragile in faithfulness, most of us,
we admire Francis from afar,
do not embrace the leper 
nor  give the shirt off our back
to any passing beggar.
Saint Francis had no 401(k),
but we check our balance
of stocks and bonds more often
than we sing to Brother Sun or Sister Moon.
Fragile in faithfulness,
Francis is not our name, either,
but still our hope, our inspiration,
our troubling troubadour of truth. 
  - Bill
Francis on his Face
       Francis has long been standing, attentively aware of the critters -- and of the whole of creation -- on our back deck, offering a slight bowl of morsels for the visiting birds. One recent Sunday morning Francis awoke to the dawn flat on his face, probably knocked down by that mama possum who stole the hamburger buns Bill left on the BBQ shelf  
Saturday night.
       Time went by and nobody pickup up Francis. I thought Bill might do that, especially when he trimmed the tree limbs above Francis and he picked up little limb chads at Francis' feet. Then I remembered Bill is a high "P" on the Meyers-Briggs which means completing any task is somewhat unlikely. So as I look out my study window at Francis on his face, I accept the grace of patience and forbearance -- good graces for me to have since I, a "J", tend to stay on one project too long in order to finish it completely.
       Someone Tweeted this morning: "#Pope Frances: Those who reduce God's gift of salvation to human efforts to follow rules 'make God's love teeny tiny.'" The Francis who lived in Assisi was big in God's love and love of all creation. To stand on that hilltop in Assisi in awe of God's wideness of love reflected in the beauty of the ever-present breeze and all of creation lifts our horizons and makes us realize the futility of the teeny tiny, like who's going to stand up the statue of Francis on the back deck. There are bigger things to tend to today.
                                                      --by Jan
Soul Windows  
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Sincerely,  Bill Howden & Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries 

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