We often associate St. Francis of Assisi with birds. There are 13th-century stories of Francis preaching to birds in trees. A famous painting by Giotto portrays Francis humbly admiring birds on the ground, his hand raised in blessing.
For Francis of Assisi, it is the love of God, the self-offering and surrender of control that comes with the Incarnation that is at the heart of what it means to talk about the suffering of Jesus on the cross. This sense of giving up control is seen in the way scholar Zachary Hayes describes the place of the cross in the spiritual world-views of Francis and Bonaventure.
The peace that Francis showed with birds, wolves, lambs, larks, and worms reminded his contemporaries that Adam and Eve lived in total harmony with all creatures before they were sent from the Garden of Eden.
We are Franciscan Media, a sponsored ministry of the Franciscan friars of St. John the Baptist Province. We strive to inspire a loving world that embraces the Franciscan spirit of harmony, joy, and simplicity. May our resources renew your spirit as we share God’s love in the spirit of St. Francis.