...and dh and I, along with 6 of our offspring, went to the Catholic Mass for the homeschoolers of Northern Colorado, celebrated by our new auxiliary bishop, Bishop James Conley. Since St. Francis of Assisi is the patron of Colorado (he was named thus about 10 years ago), we were able to celebrate this optional memorial as a feast.
Cool. Feast. The name implies a big party, with lots of food. Well, it was rather like a party. Seeing lots of folks you only see once a year at the homeschool conference. Seeing old friends. And lots and lots of newbies. As for food...well, at least we had the Bread of Life, cause we ran out of food at the reception pretty darned quickly. After standing in line to meet Bishop Conley, and receive his blessing, we went into the reception hall and lo and behold, there wasn't much food left. Lots of hungry little ones and it was nearly noon. Fortunately, I had baked a loaf of zucchini bread this morning and I still had it in the car. So much for the miracle of the loaves and the fishes...it was gone almost as soon as I cut it!
But...there was a really cool relic of St. Francis of Assisi. For non-Catholics, that means we had an actual piece of his bone. It is housed in a reliquary, a little stand with a glass window in it. We had the chance to venerate his relic. (In actuality, dh and I said some silent prayers to ask the good saint to watch over our wild animals, I mean children.)
Which is super cool, because he's a favorite saint of mine. And not because of the bird bath thing, but because he was so radical. He gave himself so totally to God that when his bishop told him to give his wealthy father back the money he took, which Francis had planned to use to rebuild a dilapidated church, Francis gave his father all the money back. Not only that, but he stripped naked in the public square in front of a crowd of people, including the bishop and his father. He gave his earthly father everything he had...even the clothes off his back, and went naked into the wilderness to meet God.
I don't advocate walking into the woods naked, because you'll either get poison ivy, frostbite, or arrested.
But St. Francis was such a cool dude because he had so much wealth, status and friendships, but he gave them all up to follow God. He was a real radical.
At the same time, he was perfectly obedient. When the bishop said "give the money back," he did...even though God told him to rebuild the church. He never set out to start an order, or reform the Church, or change the world. He just gave himself completely to God and God took care of the rest.
Now that's a real radical.