Will the Real Francis Please Kneel Down.
(My friend Brian who runs the "Defending My Beanfield" blog posted this powerful reflection on St. Francis, though he's not sure of the author. Does anyone recognize it? It's a real wake up call for some of us who unknowingly, or knowingly, "sanitize" the saints. "Save us from the birdbath Francis!"
THE REAL FRANCIS There you stand, O prophet of God Placid in the sun-drenched garden And never in the cold dank cave Or bleeding amidst the thorns. There you stand, poised and sanitized Air-brushed with the birds Who once opened their beaks to praise their Maker And then stood silent to hear His Holy Word. Why do you too stay silent Exiled to sacred niche and abandoned Upon some plaster pillar? You who glowed naked ashen upon the barren earth Now need vigil light and fresh white linen? What is the weak reason everyone loves you? And who are you, you little wounded man That everyone crowns your weary wet head with gold? Are you not a lion now made mascot or lapdog? Your bitter life has been made palatable And burlap garb soft to the touch. Marketed for the masses You stand sweet and surreal upon the tattered page. How do you feel being everyone's plastic saint? Pulled this way and that Like puddy shaped and shoved into the mold of many little minds. Everyone: old-timers and new-agers, Left wing liberals and right wing Republicans, Industrious Amish and lazy agnostics, Catholic school kids and Protestant preachers; Yes, the whole lot of us who make up life; Communists, ecologists, vegetarian, veterinarians, silver-haired hippies and bow tied bankers, Everyone owns you as no one knows you. Yet God knows you, you broken tiny man. And you know Him, do you not? Resting in crib or burning on a cross, Hidden behind wafer and wine and Holy Word. So, as you now stand, pale and listless so too my poor soul, far from the sharp thorns and the bright snow Where you found your Christ. Yes, you who stumbled along Assisi's stone streets, And wept while staggering like a drunken man, Speak to me, a sinner, who feasts on rich fare. Speak to me of the poor God - of GOD! Will the real Saint Francis please kneel down?