According to Roman Catholic tradition, Oct. 4 is the Feast
of St. Francis of Assisi and World Day For Animals. It was
inaugurated by the World League for Protection of Animals in 1928
to commemorate the great love and humane work of St. Francis of
Assisi, 1182-1226. This day is recognized universally by Animal
Societies all over the world.
In a direct quote of Fr. John Catoir a columnist with the Catholic
news service in compliance with the Franciscan Friars, T.O. R.
he explains, "The reason St. Francis of Assisi is respected
and admired so universally is because he had a deep personal
relationship with Jesus Christ. He fashioned his life and spirituality
on the teachings of his master. Because of that we have come to
appreciate his purity of spirit and admire his clarity of mind.
St. Francis understood the importance of focusing on Jesus in
times of difficulty. We can so easily get caught up in ourselves
at times. Even though we know that the Lord is always with us,
ready to draw us higher, we sometimes try to do too much on our
Father Catoir tells as little story of one of St. Francis' friends,
Brother Leo who saw himself, inadequate and miserable. St.
Francis told Brother Leo, "The sadness of not being perfect
is a feeling that is much too human, it can even border on idolatry.
Focus your vision outside of yourself, on the beauty, graciousness
and compassion of Jesus Christ. The pure of heart praise him from
sunrise to sundown. Even when they feel broken, feeble, distracted,
insecure and uncertain they are able to abide in his peace."
Father Catoir says. "The pure of heart know that their holiness
comes from the Lord alone, and they praise him from sunrise to
sundown. The joy of loving Jesus is a sure sign of the presence
of the Holy Spirit. Joy and Jesus go hand in hand. Everything
falls into place when you have a love relationship with Jesus
Even though St. Francis is one of the most popular saints of
the Church, and St. Francis of Assisi festival is a huge celebration
in Assisi there are no particular foods attached to the Saint
Francis Feast. Tradition relates that on his deathbed he requested
Frangipane cream or moastaccioli (almond biscotti).
Fire is a symbol of St. Francis because his heart was on
fire with love of God. There are stories in the Little Flowers
of St. Francis that deal with fire. It is said that when he prayed,
the surrounding areas would become so bright that people thought
the places were on fire.
Other symbols of St Francis of Assisi include birds, deer,
fish, lamb, skull, stigmata, wolf.
In addition to this feast, Saint Francis of Assisi feast day
is observed on October 4, a secondary feast is still observed
amongst traditional Roman Catholics and Franciscans world-wide
in honor of the Stigmata received by St Francis celebrated on
September 17 called "The Impression of the Stigmata of St
Francis, Confessor" (see the General Roman Calendar as in
1954, the General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII, and the General
Roman Calendar of 1962).
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