Quick - what song comes to mind when you think of "werewolf?" Michael Jackson's THRILLER!!! That iconic music video propelled MJ into the limelight, and became the standard background music for every Halloween gathering since.
A werewolf is a funny creature. It's half man, half wolf. It is forced into existence due to circumstances beyond its control, ie. a full moon. In most werewolf tales, the person who becomes a werewolf is also a victim. Once he turns into this monster, he is absolutely unable to access his rational mind. He becomes a killer completely out of control. In the morning, after the moon has set, there is typically plenty of remorse for the havoc and destruction wraught the night before. Yet, nevertheless, we all know that in another month, that same man will transform and repeat those same actions. The mayhem is going to take place again in the future.
As the Minor Triduum of Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day draw nears, create your own version of Hallmark's Candy Apple Seasons Treatings tray! These three days are a golden opportunity for each of us to think about the impurities that keep us from God. If we wish to participate in the Major Triduum (Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday) it is always a good idea to start in October. On Halloween, contemplate your own shortcomings. Give thanks to God for the saints on All Saints Day, and ask for their intercession in overcoming our temptations. On All Souls Day, pray for those who have passed on.
My Pinterest board below has lots of recipes for candy apples, sugar spiders and cand corn. Enjoy!
My new Bookshelf page is now up and running. I've started out with a collection of basic tools for Catholics - a selection of Bible studies, and books to help us understand the Bible. I'm going to add a section of good Catholic Bibles soon. There are now several great Bibles to choose from that are suited for different ages and interests. While most of the offerings are full Bibles, the additional articles for reflection, or pull out stories and illustrations are tailored to fit certain audiences.
I've also put a few books for good reading on the page, most of which I've used in group settings for faith formation. I'll keep adding some more of my favorite books, especially those I've found to be most enlightening and inspiring, and those authors whose company I've most enjoyed.
St. Francis is one of the most beloved saints of all time. He is known especially for his profound love of nature, and his radical poverty, generosity and simplicity. He has been portrayed in probably hundreds of different ways over the centuries, but I would like to offer this sculpture as one of the most unique ways I've seen of expressing his charism.
This sculpture is one of many works of art on permanent display throughout the campus of St. Mary's University, in San Antonio, Texas. I happened to be on campus not too long ago, so I snapped this photo. I truly appreciate what the artist was trying to say (unfortunately, the artist's name was nowhere to be seen around the piece. I'll have to ask around next time I'm there).
Although St. Francis was known for his love of animals, he didn't actually love nature nearly as much as is commonly understood. He loved nature because he could see the face of God reflected in it, not because he thought it was cute or a lot less troublesome than the villagers, and don't forget, this was -literally - centuries before there were any real environmental or ecological concerns to worry about. St. Francis looked upon all of creation and saw that all of creation is connected, because we have the same Maker. The same spirit of God flows through everything he makes, albeit in different degrees and for different purposes. That's what this sculpture so aptly portrays. It shows St. Francis in his long robe, holding an artist's easel. In the center of the easel is the Sacred Heart. There you have it - the original Franciscan spirituality in one visual image. Francis looked upon the works of the Master Artist, God, and saw his image reflected in all that he made. After that, it was simple for Francis. By loving and caring for God's works, in everything from chipmunks to wolves to children to adults, Francis was loving and honoring God.
As he grew and matured in the spiritual life, Francis became more and more part of the original creation, before the fall. He was able to reclaim the peace, order and balance that existed "in the beginning" and bring it into Italy, in the 1200s. He became another Christ, one who, like Jesus, could change the natural world around him. One of the most famous examples of this is the story of St. Francis and the Wolf. (you can see it here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8227Vy4d28)
It's lovely to still see St. Francis in gardens of houses and even in the stores. But I think its even better to see statues of him at places of learning, like St. Mary's. If we could all recapture, or maybe just relearn, St. Francis' worldview, what a difference that would make! If we remember that the book of Genesis teaches that "in the beginning" the entire cosmos was the Temple of God, we can see how St. Francis reclaimed and embodied this understanding, and enfleshed it through the New Covenant with Christ. Would that we all could see the world through the eyes of Francis, just as this sculpture portrays!
On his feast day, we can ask St. Francis to pray for us, and pray his "Canticle of the Sun" together.
O Most High, all-powerful, good Lord God,
to you belong praise, glory,
honour and all blessing.
Be praised, my Lord, for all your creation
and especially for our Brother Sun,
who brings us the day and the light;
he is strong and shines magnificently.
O Lord, we think of you when we look at him.
Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Moon,
and for the stars
which you have set shining and lovely
in the heavens.
Be praised, my Lord,
for our Brothers Wind and Air
and every kind of weather
by which you, Lord,
uphold life in all your creatures.
Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Water,
who is very useful to us,
and humble and precious and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, for Brother Fire,
through whom you give us light in the darkness:
he is bright and lively and strong.
Be praised, my Lord,
for Sister Earth, our Mother,
who nourishes us and sustains us,
fruits and vegetables of many kinds
and flowers of many colours.
Be praised, my Lord,
for those who forgive for love of you;
and for those
who bear sickness and weakness
in peace and patience
- you will grant them a crown.
Be praised, my Lord, for our Sister Death,
whom we must all face.
I praise and bless you, Lord,
and I give thanks to you,
and I will serve you in all humility.