This week sees St. Francis Day and countless animals will be blessed around the country. St. Francis is often thought of as a peaceful nature lover. The songs we know best are “Make me a Channel of your Peace” and “All Creatures of our God and King”. Both of which point to a calm eco-lover.

Francis was a person of extremes. He had grown up surrounded by wealth as his father was a wealthy silk merchant. By all accounts he was a lavish spender. He was a soldier for a while and was a captive for a year after which he renounced his wealth and lived as a beggar. Like many popular saints he trod a precarious path between holiness and being so extreme he would have been considered off balance.

Saints line themselves up with God but they also live with passion. Sometimes it is tempting to think that focusing on God is only for people who have no drive but drive is often what makes for a Saint – without it Francis would not have started the Franciscans and we would not have his writing to sing as hymns. As we think about the world and our care of it we should remember that we are not asked to be passive, but rather to change our way of living and restore God’s creation to a place of honor, not a place of exploitation.