Called to Praise God for Noble-Winged Creatures

by Sister Julie Ann on May 10, 2010

Bird watching continues to be a well-loved sport for some Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. Recall St.
Franciscan Bird Feeding Station

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity enjoy watching God's colorful-winged creatures.

Francis spotting a great number of winged creatures on a trip with his friars through the Spoleto Valley near the town of Bevagna. The birds included doves, crows and all sorts. Francis filled with awe said to them:  

“My brother birds, you should greatly praise your Creator and love Him always: He gave you feathers to wear, wings to fly and whatever you need. God made you noble among His creatures and gave you a home in the purity of the air, so that, though you neither sow nor reap.” (Celano I, Chapter XXI)

Francis blessed the birds giving them permission to fly off to another direction. Then with great rejoicing  the friars gave thanks to God while traveling on his way. From that day on, Francis made a habit to carefully exhort all winged creatures, all animals and reptiles to praise and love their Creator. (On another day this saint also quieted a flock of noisy birds that were interrupting his preaching!)

(Photos: Sister Louise Hembrecht, OSF)

Do you have any favorite bird photos to share? Any stories of appreciation and inspiration about God’s winged creatures?

7 thoughts on “Called to Praise God for Noble-Winged Creatures”

  1. One of the best things to hear in the morning is the singing of the birds! One of the poems written by a grade school girl participating in “A Night of Peace” for Afghanistan exemplifies this so well.

    “My Peace Bracelet Message”
    By Julia

    To me, peace looks like a warm sunny day with no clouds

    And me playing outside with my friends

    To me, peace sounds like a little bird singing in the early morning

    Sitting in its nest with its tiny wings resting on its soft feathers

  2. Poetry's metaphors are wonderful in describing that which is often difficult to communicate and understand. As we near Pentecost the symbol of the dove comes to mind. How could we forget the wonder of the Old Testament account of Noah and this hope and as well as peace-bringing bird! Jesus' baptism (e.g. Mk 1:10) is Trinitarian complete with the presence of a dove that comes from on high.

  3. sisterannemarielom says:

    I had a wonderful experience on my way home from Manitowoc yesterday. It was early afternoon and I was so sleepy, I pulled off the road onto a driveway into a field, opened my window just a crack and fell asleep. After twenty minutes a bird chirped a beautiful 3 or 4 note song and I awoke refreshed. I was very grateful for my “bird alarm”. Their song is so much better than a mechanical tone! I praised God for a “natural” wake up call.

  4. Sister Rosangela says:

    It's interesting to see these beautiful pictures of the birds. We are enjoying the birds at Chiara also. During Retreat it was a nice pastime for us and for our visiting Sisters. It's such a peaceful way to spend time enjoying God's creation. I wonder if these are the same birds at all the bird feeders or if they are “kissing cousins!” They certainly are well fed, aren't they? Francis would be pleased.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Lovely photos of God’s winged creatures. Thank you! It’s delightful hearing once again the song of the birds and what a GIFT! With the approach of Pentecost nature’s GIFTS take on a vibrant meaning. I’m reading a spiritual book: Water Wind, Earth, Fire: THE CHRISTIAN PRACTICE OF PRAYING WITH THE ELEMENTS by Christine Valters Paintner, Here is a quote that you may find inspiring from page 25 of her book: “When a bird remains long on the ground it thereby weakens its wings and its feathers grow heavy. Then, it rises, flaps its wings and swings itself up till it takes to the air and glides into flight. The longer it flies the more blissfully it soars, refreshing itself, hardly alighting on the earth to rest. So, it is with the SOUL. We must prepare ourselves in the same way if we wish to come to God. We must rise on wings of longing up to him.” (Mechtild of Magdeburg)

  6. Sr. Sarah Bertler says:

    A pair of hummingbirds visits the feeder outside my window early in the morning and again in the evening. What a wonderful way to realize the blessings of the day in the simple events of life. And a reminder to “be still and know that I am the Lord.”

  7. Postulant Marie says:

    Very neat bird pictures!

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