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At the time when St. Francis of Assisi lived (1182-1226) one of the most feared human beings was a person who had the disease of leprosy. Because no one knew how the disease was caught there was a great fear that it came through human contact. So, lepers were isolated in special buildings called leprosariums, away from the cities and villages, and cared for by various religious groups.
St. Francis of Assisi was known for his love of animals, so it is fitting that on his feast day of October 4th pets are brought to church for a special prayer service of blessing on them. Pets are our companions and friends, and our prayer of thanksgiving for them acknowledges that they play an important role in our lives.
St. Francis of Assisi had a reverence for the Scriptures which formed his unique view of how the Son of God chose to be poor and humble. It also taught him what God wanted to do with him.
St. Francis of Assisi died on October 4, 1226. It seems right that we continue to reflect on his life and teachings during October. Last month I wrote about the interpretation that St. Francis of Assisi placed upon the birth and death of Jesus which showed the chosen poverty and humility of God in the circumstances of the birth of Jesus as a human, his life as a preacher, and in his death on the cross. This humility and poverty of God continued to be seen by St. Francis daily in the Eucharist.