"My little sisters, the birds, much bounden are ye unto God, your Creator, and always in every place ought ye to praise Him, for that He hath given you liberty to fly about everywhere, and hath also given you double and triple rainment; moreover He preserved your seed in the ark of Noah, that your race might not perish out of the world; still more are ye beholden to Him for the element of the air which He hath appointed for you; beyond all this, ye sow not, neither do you reap; and God feedeth you, and giveth you the streams and fountains for your drink; the mountains and valleys for your refuge and the high trees whereon to make your nests; and because ye know not how to spin or sow, God clotheth you, you and your children; wherefore your Creator loveth you much, seeing that He hath bestowed on you so many benefits; and therefore, my little sisters, beware of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to give praises unto God."
Now as another year comes to a close I find a fair share of difficulties and worries, not only in my own personal life but also in the common life of our country and world, that are sure to cross the threshold of tomorrow and remain for quite a while, and my heart and soul feel weighted with sorrow and frustration. It's hard to fly with the freedom of the winged birds when the heaviness of heartache holds me back.
So I gaze upon that lovely image of holy St. Francis and I imagine him speaking to me like he spoke to the birds, reminding me to always thank God my creator for my many blessings-for my family, my home, my job, my health, my friends, my faith. And realizing that I am greatly blessed, I understand that God will always see to it that all of my spiritual and material needs are met, that I will have just enough but not too much, that He will always be with me in all times, places and situations and that His love is strong enough to billow me up as I strive to take flight toward His will for me regardless of how weary I may become, and for that I give thanks and praise to God.
(listen to St. Francis Preaches to the Birds by Franz Liszt)