Francis of Assisi was waning in his strength. In those days he lived in a provisional hut in the woods beyond Porziuncola. Fr. Sylvester who was attending on bed-ridden Francis handed a message to him – Claire and her sisters would like to see Francis and be blessed by him.
“What do you say? Should I go,” Francis asked Fr. Sylvester. He
encouraged Francis, but Francis was hesitant.
Sylvester insisted, “What reply should I give to Claire?”
Francis said, “Tell her, when the path from Porziuncola to San Damiano is strewn with white flowers I will visit you.” It was winter with hardly any flower around!
Sylvester retorted, “So you mean never – that you will never visit them again?”
“Sylvester,” said Francis, “never,’ ‘always’ – these are terms of God’s propriety. May be this can happen immediately, even as we are speaking.”
“Leo, Go and see,” Francis said. Leo rushed out into the street. He could hardly believe his eyes! The whole path has been full of white flowers – the hedge, the rocks, the pits, everything carpeted by white flowers!
Leo went on his knees in praise and thanks to the Almighty. Then he sprang up, filled both his hands with white followers from the road and ran back to the hut of Francis.
Sylvester fell at the feet of Francis and kissed the flowers: “Forgive me Brother Francis. I was short of faith.”
Francis picked up the flowers and kept them in his eyes and on his head saying, “Why are you surprised? Everything around us is a miracle. The water we drink, the earth we walk on, the night that descends with the stars at dusk, the sun and the moon – all is wonder!”
Francis Assisi reminds us that our common home is like our sister with whom we share our life and our loving mother who opens her arms to embrace us. That is why he sings, “Praise be to you my Lord, through our sister Moon, our mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.”
Pope Francis through his encyclical “Laudato Si’” invites and challenges everyone to walk back to the original kinship between man and Nature.
We invite you to the uniqueness and beauty of this encyclical – read, reflect and CHANGE- for our own welfare and that of the coming generations.