A Fountain in a Piazza

 “People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool in the world can see [God is] always trying to please us back…always making little surprises and springing them on us when us least expect them.”

-Alice Walker, The Color Purple

 Today, October 4th, we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Asisis. St. Francis always expected little surprises, little unexpected and pleasing gifts from God. He was always looking with open eyes. Francis had a profound reverence for the holiness of all created things. He looked at the visible things before him – a bright, yellow sunflower, a shimmering cypress tree, a lazy lizard on the path to the Carceri, a glistening fountain in a piazza – and was able to see the glory and perfection of his invisible God. Francis saw the essence of things, and how they mirrored the essence of God.

God was always within his sight. Everything the saint saw was a sacrament. The incarnation was a daily event for Francis, as God spoke through all the material things in the world he so lovingly created…for us. What joy! Francis praised and thanked God every day for the simple things that revealed the grandeur of God. Teilhard de Chardin, the great French Jesuit philosopher and paleontologist, who was deeply influenced by St. Francis of Assisi, writes in The Divine Milieu: “God, in all that is most living and incarnate in Him, is not withdrawn from us beyond the tangible sphere; He is waiting for us at every moment in our action, in our work of the moment. He is in some sort at the tip of my pen, my spade, my brush, my needle – of my heart and of my thought.”

Francis kisses the earth because he is keenly aware of the wonder of creation and he is telling us we must respect all of creation. Francis praised Brother Sun and Sister Moon because they were created by God and are reflections of God’s love and beauty. When Francis praises all of creation, he is not doing so as a high priest of ecology; rather, he is making a mystical statement that claims we can have an experience of God through creation, because God is present in all of created matter, energizing it.

Saint Francis, help me see what is right in front of me. I too often see past things to the next thing, not allowing time for my eyes to really see and my mind to be truly mindful. Help me, Saint Francis, see God in everything.

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1 Response to “A Fountain in a Piazza”


  1. 1 aliceny October 4, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Thank you for this especially beautiful posting today, Gerry. I am so grateful for your insights into the God-given grace and holiness that our everyday actions and thoughts can be if recognized, appreciated, and passed on to others.


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