You probably will not agree with what I am about to tell you, so be it, but I did an act of kindness tonight because as I considered murder… I had heard a hymn earlier in the day that came to my mind and has not left me all evening… I’ll give you the name in a minute.
In 1225, yes you read that right, Francis of Assisi, who became a Saint after his death and who is the patron Saint of animals and the environment, wrote “Cantico di fratre sole“, Song of Brother Sun, shortly before his death. It was almost 400 years before it was translated to English, by William H. Draper, and published in the Public School Hymn Book, 1919.
If you take a few moments to sit outside and watch the squirrels playing chase, carrying nuts in their cheeks looking for a place to hide them; watch the birds as they fly around and land on the feeder to have a little snack or splash in the birdbath, you know that God created all these wonderful creatures who are on a mission of finding and storing food, of caring for their young and for simply enjoying their life.
Driving down my tree lined street recently I particularly noticed something that, I guess, is always there, first a possum, a squirrel, then a chipmunk, all road-kill. I had always seen them and felt sorry that they were trying to cross a road and lost a battle with several thousand pounds of vehicle, a sad sight. But then I was driving and a small squirrel ran from the sidewalk into the road, I slowed down and it turned, as if it were going to go back, I picked up speed and then it happened… he turned and ran right under my car. I thought I had missed it until I heard the bump. I cannot get that sound out of my head. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw it dying, I started to cry and felt like a murderer, wondering if it was a mama looking for food, or a young squire looking for a mate, whatever it was, it was dead and gone. I had to face it again on my way home, still lying there, now lifeless and run over by other wheels.
We take those kinds of deaths as an everyday fact of life, but those small creatures have families and their life is important to their Creator, Who sees a sparrow when it falls. Luke 12:6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins, and not one of them is forgotten before God.”
Back to tonight, I got on the elevator on the 3rd floor and there was a large, black roach in there. I spoke to it and said, “Buddy you don’t belong in here, one of us has to go!” I started to stomp on him but the car stopped and I opened the door on the 2nd floor to see if anyone was going down, I looked down at the roach as he just stood there at the edge not making a move. When I got to the basement and opened the door he calmly marched out, he had reached his destination and I didn’t kill him!
Now I will tell you the hymn that began playing, which I had no idea was written by St Francis of Assisi, “All creatures of our God and King, lift up your voice and with us sing, Alleluia! Alleluia! Let all things their Creator bless, and worship Him in humbleness, O praise Him! Alleluia! Praise, Praise the Father, Praise the Son, and praise the Spirit three in One! Alleluia! Alleluia!”
So for tonight there is one creature of God that owes his life to St. Francis! To him I say, “Sleep tight Mr. Roach, tomorrow I might not be so generous!”
This creature of God is tired and just before going to bed!