Baptist, Christianity, death, faith, hope, humor, Religion, St. Francis of Assis

The Feast Of St. Francis

Today is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.  Click this link to learn more.

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I look at St. Francis as our family patron.  I know this is weird coming from an American Baptist, but it is true.  Mae and I both love the message the St. Francis preached.  One of peace, poverty, and humility and hospitality.

I  am constantly looking to St. Francis.  When I struggle with patience, when I struggle with finances, when I get anxious; I look at Francis and his example.  Just follow Christ and follow his commandments, and you will be comforted.  His theology is so simple.  Do as Christ did.  Yet it is so difficult.  That is why it is good to have a saint’s example to follow.

St. Francis also wrote my favorite prayer.

The Canticle of the Creatures.

Most High, All-powerful, All-Good, Lord!
All praise is Yours,
all glory, all honor
And all blessing.

To You alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy
To pronounce your name.

All praise be Yours, my Lord, through all that You have made,
And first my lord Brother Sun,
Who brings the day; and light you give to us through him.
How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor!
Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.

All praise be Yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars;
In the heavens You have made them, bright
And precious and fair.

All praise be Yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all the weather’s moods,
By which You cherish all that You have made.

All praise be Yours, my Lord, through Sister Water,
So useful, lowly, precious, and pure.

All praise be Yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
Through whom You brighten up the night.
How beautiful he is, how gay!
Full of power and strength.

All praise be Yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth, our mother,
Who feeds us in her sovereignty and produces
Various fruits and colored flowers and herbs.

All praise be Yours, my Lord,
through those who grant pardon
For love of You;
through those who endure
Sickness and tria
l.

Happy those who endure in peace,
By You, Most High,
they will be crowned.

All praise be Yours, my Lord,
through Sister Death-of-the-Body,
From whose embrace
no mortal can escape.
Woe to those who die
in mortal sin,
Happy those She finds
doing Your holy will!
The second death can do
no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord,
and give Him thanks,
And serve Him with great humility.

Amen

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autism, faith, hope, kids, love, special needs

A Place of Hope

I was browsing though the website of my hometown newspaper today, and I came across a series of multimedia pages about a place I love, yet think of much less often than I ought. The name of the place is called The Hope Institute for Children and Families. Although, to residents of Springfield it is called The Hope School. The Hope School is a place for children with multiple physical and mental disabilities to live and learn. It is a residential school. It is a place full of struggle, frustration, and confusion. But all of those things are overshadowed by love and hope. The kids that live at and attend the school are truly gifts from God.

I got first hand experiences with the kids that were there many years ago. In high school the band and show choir I participated in would make frequent stops to the school to perform and interact with the kids. We also, as members of National Honor Society, would go and volunteer. My favorite times were when we went with show choir. We would do our performance for the most enthusiastic crowd EVER! The loved us no matter how off we were. But after the perfomance is when we would have the best time (and this happened with NHS too, as we sometimes worked in tandem at Hope) we would have a party. These kids will put any college party animal to shame. They can go! They have a joy that is absolutely contagious.

I have a soft spot for kids with physical and mental disabilities. They have so much wisdom beyond their years, and so much to teach if we only allow ourselves to be open to their gifts.

I used to work in a day camp/summer school type program in Springfield while I was home for the summers during college. One year I had a child with autism, and Little Red, as I called him due to-duh-his bright red hair, turned me into the person I am now. He taught me patience, and to enjoy the things you can. He would find enjoyment is the things that make most people scratch their head, and he found safety in them. If we could not find him, we knew to look at the water fountain. He loved to watch the water flow from the spigot to the drain. He loved to hang from the monkey bars. I did too, and that is where we talked. He was not very communicative, but we could always talk on the monkey bars.

Wow, I intended to commend you to look at the above links, not go on and on about this. But that is what happens when I think about these blessings. I just go on and on. I love them more than I could ever express, and am so grateful to have had the experiences i have had with them.

God bless the child.

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