First, Do No Harm
Good evening people of God,
Tonight as we drove through the evening rush hour traffic the kids and I quizzed each other on the names of baby animals. It seems the word for newly hatched ostriches is not in my vocabulary. Animals, apparently, were on our minds.
There is a story about St Francis of Assisi that a wolf was regularly hunting and/or maiming villagers. They were complaining about the wolf, and St Francis heard about the wolf. So, he left the village walls and found the wolf. He told the wolf about the villagers' complaints and explained he wanted peace between the wolf and the people.
The wolf was concerned; they were hunting the people for food. St. Francis negotiated that the wolf would always have food if the villagers remained safe. One could speculate that a relationship initiated on harm may not be solid enough for an agreement of this sort. However, legend says that St. Francis's attempt to negotiate peace was successful. The wolf was never hungry - even welcome in the homes of the villagers, and the villagers were never harmed by the wolf again.
There were a variety of choices St Francis could have made with regards to the wolf and the villagers, and yet the path St Francis choose was the one that caused the least harm to all parties. October 4 is the Feast of St Francis in the Catholic Tradition, but I think he may have been a Christian leader worthy of a lil Protestant love.
As we journey to World Communion Sunday, may we pause to reflect on the consequences of our choices beyond ourselves. How often do we cause harm to others intentional or not, direct or not? And, may we too be peacemakers like St Francis.
Peace be with you,